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Fiction by ERWA Bloggers

Halloween In The Castro
by Donna George Storey

Renfield's Lament
by Lisabet Sarai

Pinky
by C. Sanchez-Garcia

Three Times Lucky
by Remittance Girl

Last Tango in Paris, Texas
by M. Christian

Eddie's All-night Diner
by K D Grace

A Curious Case
by Jean Roberta

Sleep Well, My Love
by Elizabeth Black

are you going to kiss me?
by Ashley R Lister



Free Ebooks

Naughty Bits: Technology for Authors
by Lisabet Sarai

A Slip of the Lip Anthology
by Remittance Girl (Ed)

Power and Glory

by Rose B. Thorny

erotic fiction

PART 1

It could not have been her.

The resemblance was uncanny but, at that moment, there was not a single doubt in my mind that what I had seen must have been a trick of the light coupled with my imagination, because I knew, with certainty borne of unequivocal action on my part, it could not be her.

I knew it was impossible. I knew, because, seventeen days before, with my own two hands and the aid of a cutting tool designed to incise humans, and several others for butchering animals, I had rid myself of her.

The night it happened, I had not started out with any such intent. Indeed, my lack of planning most likely enabled my success though, admittedly, thoughts of dispatching her by various methods, had flickered, unbidden, into my mind, with disturbing frequency throughout the week leading to the pivotal moment. Had I consciously prepared for the actual deed, I am certain she would have suspected something might be amiss, but that night, almost all was as it had been up to the precise point where I made the decision to excise her. Until that exact instant, the love and the hate were entwined in such a way that it was impossible to discern any inconsistency in my fondness for her, or in the manner in which I chose to display that affection.

In retrospect, I can sum up how I felt about her by citing my reaction upon once seeing a film segment depicting a nest of newly-hatched snakes. They appeared to be a single, black, slithering mass, darkly beautiful, somehow alien, yet not … a barely recognized reflection of something parasitical that resides within us, feeding on and drawing life from whatever it consumes. It was impossible to discern the squirming individuals coiled inextricably around each other at the birth site.

How perfect was that indelible image, that visual replication of the classic emotional conundrum — the bewildering coexistence of spellbound affection and fascinated repulsion, an ideal metaphor that best describes what love, in fact, is.

I was taken with her for myriad reasons, the foremost being her need to endure seemingly boundless pain and abject humiliation, and not the least of which, unfortunately, was her ability to suck out of me orgasms that rivaled volcanic eruptions.

If you know where to look, the former, while uncommon, is not difficult to obtain in these times of apparent limitless opportunities for seekers of extreme sensations, but the latter seemed dependent on some uniqueness, which had not been presented to me, prior to our meeting.

I always took great care in not letting slip any words denoting attachment that she might have wished to hear, but not too long after she committed herself to me, I found myself concluding that what I felt for her was nothing less than love. I am not a man who is easily frightened, but I shuddered when first I realized this must be the emotion to which I had succumbed.

I have never doubted my purpose in maintaining the natural order. She alone, however, was able to confirm that I possessed the same elemental forces responsible for spewing out rivers of molten lava, as those I felt rising inside me, whenever — upon being granted permission, of course — she wrapped her fingers around my cock and pulled it to that wet red mouth then tightened her full lips around it. I was always aware of the fine serrations of her teeth brushing, sawing ever so lightly, along flesh stretched so taut that I was certain, with just the slightest increase in pressure, the engorged appendage would burst in a jet-spray of blood and pent-up semen, an exquisite nightmare of pain and ecstasy.

As much as the image of her face covered in that viscous gore and pooled in her gaping mouth aroused me, I also experienced a sensation quite unfamiliar to me … the thrill of fear. What would happen, if she decided those teeth were designed for more than just teasing around the edges of oblivion?

She was not gentle in that arena and even the first time, she discerned that I did not want gentle ministrations. She was violent and violence excites me. She perceived that as well, just as she seemed to understand my need to prove that I could take as good as I gave, though I seldom allowed any situation, where I was on the receiving end of viciousness, to exceed the prescribed parameters. Her penchant for such behaviour and my desire to indulge it, for my own pleasure, did not preclude the reality that any usurpation of my authority was untenable. It is unwise to oppose a force of nature, which is a law unto itself, and she was not unwise.

I admired her intuitiveness, though. It was one of those things I loved about her — until I started hating it. Loving her and hating the unfamiliar responses she evoked concerned me, because I am not a man given to indulging any extremes of emotion and I have laboured to ensure that any emergence of same be reined in and harnessed securely.

In no way have I ever suffered the ravages of any addiction to a substance, though not through lack of experimentation. It is only through research and exploration that we determine what can elevate us to a level far beyond the mundane and what can drag us into the abyss to destroy us. Such trials, though, merely served to substantiate my belief that retention of power is impossible without self-discipline. Having reached that conclusion early in life, I eschewed those elements, the sole purpose of which appears to be the annihilation of self-control. However, I had never before met anyone who could be said to possess the same properties as an addictive substance.

Too late, after she had already insinuated herself in my life, I came to realize that she had learned too much. That presented a problem. She knew what I wanted and how much I wanted it. She knew how to make me want it so desperately that the danger of wanting more, acquiring it, thence craving it again after only a brief lapse of time, became a single drug. I never thought of it in such terms, because I could not bear to think of any such weakness rooting itself in me, like a cancer of the psyche.

One brilliant afternoon, with dazzling sunlight pouring through the French doors and glittering off every reflective surface, the equally glaring truth revealed itself to me.

I had called, earlier, to summon her with the customary single word command — "Now."  It was all that was required for her to drop anything, in which she might be otherwise engaged, and drive the half hour from her home to mine.

She was prompt. From the beginning, I had made her aware that while she was on her own time, which had become, in fact, my time given to her to pursue her own professional or recreational interests, tardiness would never be tolerated. I was gratified to learn that she was, by nature or nurture (I cared not which), predisposed to punctuality.

Several times, early in our association, I had done this while she was at her place of employment to measure her willingness to set priorities and adhere to my rules of conduct and attendance. While it caused her considerable inconvenience, she had made plausible excuses for a hasty departure and arrived within an acceptable window of time, considering the distance.

Once, when she had claimed a sudden, excruciating migraine attack to leave an important meeting, but duly arrived as commanded, I instructed her merely to sit, fully clothed, in a straight-backed wooden chair for the duration of the time the meeting would have consumed had she remained at her work. She sat — eyes front, feet together, hands folded in her lap — silent and almost unmoving for four hours. There was no further interaction that day other than my dismissing her with a "Well done. You may leave now."  Such obedience, so early in our association, pleased me and after that, I rarely tested her on the job. I found her firm position of relative power within the corporation and her financially self-supporting state suitable for my purpose; I had no wish to jeopardize the status quo.

That pivotal afternoon, however, my world was illuminated by more than just the dazzling light of the sun. Immediately following her arrival, she performed, naked, the menial tasks I assigned that served the dual purposes of getting needed work done and affirming her station. When she completed her chores to my satisfaction, I leashed her and she assumed her canine stance. I took her outside where she relieved herself in the snow, then we adjourned upstairs, she still leashed and on hands and knees, heeling, and I prompting her to show more haste by flicking her bottom with a dog whip. I took her into the spotless, tiled bathroom and administered an enema to cleanse her.

Afterwards, we retired to the large, appropriately appointed room, which was the usual site for less domestic activities.

I have arranged my life to accommodate my appetites and my purpose, both of which became apparent to me at a young age. I set goals accordingly and, through diligence and well-compensated, demanding work, added to my timely inheritance and obtained all that I required to indulge in what surely would have raised issues with meddlesome neighbours, had I not gone to great lengths to avoid such interference. I have no immediate family to speak of and long ago rebuffed any overtures from the remaining more distant relations to maintain any type of contact.  An isolated, modest country home, away from prying eyes, suited me. The surrounding fenced, wooded acreage, beyond a moderate expanse of manicured lawns and gardens, ensured privacy.

I allot one day per week for external maintenance provided by paid services and performed during prescribed hours. Visits by anyone, outside those times, are a rarity and by invitation only. This has allowed me the freedom of not having to confine, to any one particularly dungeon-like room, the activities with my slaves, each of whom, in succession, I charged with the maintenance of the interior of the house. It has been my custom not to have more than one in service at any given time. On those infrequent occasions, when my whims involved the use of a slave assistant with a novice trainee, I allowed no casual interaction or conversation between them.

Because of the remoteness, no soundproofing is necessary. The entire house is my torture chamber, though I have my preferred spaces with specifically-designed fixtures. The large room upstairs at the back of the house, overlooking the hedged rose garden, has always been my favourite, even when the landscape is blanketed in mid-winter snow.

That brittle, sparkling afternoon, its character was pronounced. I savoured the glaring light of day juxtaposed with what had taken place many times before and was about to once again, what most others perceive to be darkly perverse. While I am aware of the perceptions of others and recognize that I must be circumspect in my associations with them and adhere to the customs of society, their strictures are of no concern to me within the confines of my own domain. The cliché is trite, but true; a man's home is his castle.

After the cleansing, I'd yanked her around by her hair and pinched and twisted her nipples, hardened by chilling and excitement, until she yelped. I had smiled, with satisfaction, watching her crawl after me, belly to the floor, looking remarkably like a wounded dog, to grovel and beg for the physical and mental pain, which I desired to inflict and which, when administered, alleviated her peculiar need and my own. She knew, without commands, that leg rubbing with her face and shoe licking were her part in the ritual that affirmed our respective positions. Easily half the joy in what I do derives from such preliminaries.

I had restrained her, suspended, in the most awkwardly revealing position imaginable, with no part of her left unexposed, and availed myself of the panoply of instruments designed to take full advantage of her vulnerability. The variety of sounds I drew from her, and which she enjoyed producing as much as I enjoyed provoking them, were merely an overture. She moaned, she squealed, she screamed, she growled. She begged me to stop, when I vigorously laid crop to cunt, which was producing copious amounts of fluid, but stop was not the correct word, so it was understood her plea was not sincere. I absorbed her agonized ululations and was transported by them as a violin virtuoso might be carried away by the music he produces, through his prodigious talent, on the seasoned instrument.

I had draped her prone, sobbing and dripping, but otherwise still wanting, over the whipping bench. Having secured her, with an anal hook firmly fastened and wedged inside her, which negated any need for restraint of her limbs, I employed a range of instruments to achieve another dissonant symphony. I poked and prodded and made proper extensive use of the needle-pointed wheels, that never failed to generate both appeals for continuance thence pleas for merciful cessation, which I was disinclined to grant, as the sincerity of them was still more than just a little doubtful. I applied more pressure with them than at any time previous and delighted in creating bloody Lilliputian wells that sprung up on the landscape of her back.

She was a true pain slut, a rarity, able to achieve orgasm through those sensations alone, though she was not permitted to do so without my leave. I trailed one wheel along her swollen, sopping gash and over her engorged clit, producing much less tissue damage, but to considerably greater vocal effect. I gave the word in the midst of her shrieks, and stood back to observe her complete loss of control while the spasms wracked her.

I recall pausing to marvel at how like a work of glorious art she was, my creation, my masterpiece. Her pale skin glowed, luminous in the white sunlight, liquid red beads oozing in livid contrast. I dipped my fingers, repeatedly, into the bountiful well of her quivering cunt then mingled those clear fluids with the blood, smearing the blended medium into an abstract over her back and buttocks.

The guttural groans coming from her drooling, ring-gagged mouth seemed to praise my handiwork. Though she could not see the work in progress, I gave her a taste of the mixed media, shoving my fingers roughly into her dark, wet maw along her tongue and against the back of her throat. Her choking sounds provided unneeded encouragement for me to continue my artistic endeavours until she was near fainting.

I unfastened and removed the hook and its absence produced a protracted cry of longing. I knew that for her, the sudden emptiness was as agonizing a pain as anything I did which left marks. Only then did I secure her wrists and ankles. I crisscrossed her back with crimson welts, bruised her thighs, whipped her ample bottom to a furious red, breaking the skin several times, then ravaged her nether hole, but her earnest and finally correct shrieks for clemency still did not afford me all the gratification I'd come to expect from her pleasure-pain. When, at last, I was compelled to employ her mouth to wring from me an excruciatingly powerful climax, I realized that while she easily gave up any pretense of self-possession, she had far too much control over my responses. That was the one danger, which I had hitherto ignored, but could no longer afford to deny.

In the sweating, panting, weeping aftermath of our savage play, I was filled, unexpectedly, with a fear that I had not experienced since a time when my infant mind imagined a ravenous monster lurking in the shadows beneath my bed, or in the dark reaches of any closet with a gaping door.

As a child, I had sensed that nightmare abomination lying in wait to seize me and to devour me, from the feet up, of course, so that I would be fully and horrifically aware of my imminent death. It was an inverse, hideous parody of birth, a re-absorption, with the creature's mouth resembling nothing less than a sucking, razor-toothed vagina. The monster's goal was not simply that I should die, but that throughout the nightmare vision, I should suffer horrendous agony and be fully conscious, while awaiting my inevitable demise. The point was to make me beg for the release only it could grant, before it was too late, but I was paralyzed, voiceless. When, in terrified desperation, I disgraced myself, as only a child does, and succumbed to abject terror, finally able to scream, my infantile cries went unheard and I was forced to witness my own destruction.

It was an unacceptable scenario and one I thought I had purged from my mind, once and for all, decades before that sparkling white afternoon.

I loathed the fearfulness and hated her for the insidious way she had effected it — always the temptress, the tease beneath the wild submissive begging to be tamed, harshly trained to be obedient, all the while knowing what she was doing. She was the one person who, it could be said, I had ever truly loved, but I despised her for bringing me to the impasse I knew I had reached, the one forcing me to consider doing what needed to be done to save myself.

That it had come to this was irrefutable, damning evidence of how seriously I had underestimated the hazardous nature of compromise. What I was being forced to consider was certainly more my fault than hers, an unforgivable lapse in judgment and reason, but she needed to be held accountable as well. She was hardly an innocent in the whole affair.

Losing her, or rather removing her, would not kill me, but the thought of having to find another, as adept at such delicious torture as she could both withstand and administer, tore at me. It was as if, by some supernatural means of transport, a maddened rat, having found itself inside my belly, now wanted to gnaw and rip through my viscera in an attempt to free itself, while destroying me in attaining that goal. How different was she than the lurking monster of my youth?

In that moment of stark illumination, when, for the first time since an insufferably humiliating childhood, I felt truly naked, I knew I would have to purge my life of … Glory.

PART 2

Even now, I hesitate to say her name, although, clearly, it is far too late for such caution.

I am not given to indulging superstition, but I had said her name so often and perhaps that is why, despite my rational assertion to the contrary, it had to be her I saw in the busy, but ordinary venue of a restaurant we had frequented. I abandoned logic and pondered the idea that, perhaps, by saying her name, I had given her enough psychic strength to return from the certain death I had caused.

Although the thought was absurd, it occurred to me that I had increasingly imbued her with some otherworldly power just by thinking her name, as I had done time and again, since that bloody night. I stood with a young, unsophisticated acolyte, acquired without much difficulty — another willing self-punisher, who had not the slightest hope ever of being as talented as her predecessor — waiting for the reservation to be confirmed. Had I enhanced that supernatural power to the point where, as I glanced over the chattering dinner crowd, I spotted Glory sitting at a table beside the stone hearth that lent such ambiance to the fine dining establishment?

By my request, we had never been seated that uncomfortably close to the fire, but there she perched, almost as if, having been consigned to suffer the eternal chill of death, she sought to be warmed by flames. Had my presence and remembrance of our own last dinner here and my whispering of her name to myself given her the power to appear, as whole and as beautiful as she had been in life?

Amidst the murmured conversations, subdued laughter, and musical tinkling of crystal, cutlery and china, did the power rise and fall as a pulsing heart might? Could the throbbing of it muffle and displace those sounds, as it seemed to do?

I only wondered at the strength of such power, because a waiter crossed my field of vision and Glory was gone the instant of his passing. The volume and clarity of ambient noise rose again, as the pulsation subsided. Had I seen her at all? Could I have mistaken that fall of dark chestnut hair shot with a single wide streak of white above the right temple? Surely not, yet there was no sign of her after the visual interruption and my heart still pounded from the shock of seeing her. I could not have imagined it unless some momentary insanity had befallen me to spawn a hallucination.

The compliant thing, who accompanied me and who had not yet absorbed the essence of what it meant to be property, prattled mindlessly. I did not foresee a bright future for her in service to me. In truth, at that moment of acute madness, I wanted nothing more than to throttle her. As immediately satisfying as that would have been, the maitre d' altered the fate I imagined for her by advising me that our table was ready.

He led and our path wound past the section where the spectre had manifested. Although one chair at the table for six was empty, there was no sign of her. The heat from the fire engulfed me. I paused and stared for a moment.

One of the diners, a smug-looked woman, who surely deserved to be taken down a notch or two, glowered at me as if to ask, "Yes? Did you want something?" I turned away from her, disconcerted by my own confusion, yet at the same time, yearning to punish the arrogant bitch in the most humiliating fashion possible. How I would have reveled in seeing her restrained and splayed, right there on the table, open to every indignity I could visit upon her. Surely I would be applauded for putting her in her place. Once past the table, I glanced back, only saving myself from falling by grasping the back of another patron's chair. I had stumbled, because, to my horror, the previously vacant seat was once again occupied by the woman I had killed.

Glory looked straight at me and smiled, in the way she had done on those rare occasions, when she knew she had me beyond reason, parting those blood-red lips and revealing the gleaming white teeth with the fine serrations that had so often left marks on my body.

Despite my alarm, I was reminded of how satisfying it had been, whenever she became too enthusiastic, to thwart those gnashing endeavours with a ball gag or a bit, and how delicious to witness the stifled rage she so desired to vent. I recalled the pleasurable surge that would course through me and swell both my chest and cock, when I would mock her fierce but futile efforts at protesting whatever humiliations would follow.

Seeing that tantalizing, omniscient smile, the magnitude of what I'd lost, forever, struck me with the force of an iron fist.

"Oh, Sir, are you all right?"

The newly-acquired chattel fawned and fussed, drawing attention to my fleeting loss of self-possession from both the maitre d' and several diners

Recovering my composure, I glared at her and brushed her hands away from me. I leaned in close to her and said, "Shut your mouth, girl, or it will go very badly for you later."

She clenched her little fists to her chest, looked properly humbled and whispered, "Yes, sir. I'm sorry, sir."

This exchange was as distressing as the incident that precipitated it. She behaved in a manner, which, until Glory, would have pleased me; in fact, in a way I had always demanded … until Glory.

There had been a time in the not-too-distant past, when I would have basked in that fearful deference and taken satisfaction in my impersonal address of her. Now I was shaken, and worse, bewildered, because her sniveling disgusted me and I was intensely aware that she was … ordinary. She was merely "girl," with so few attributes that made her worthy of my attention that I was half inclined to abandon her on the spot and depart.

The reverberating din of the crowd further agitated me. It melded with the thudding of my heart, and seemed to press upon me, as might a suffocating, toxic cloud. Enough of a scene already had been created, however, that leaving would only have drawn additional attention to the brief faltering of my self-possession. Perhaps food and a fine wine would restore my equilibrium, though the prospect of dining with my dim charge was disheartening. That I found it so, fueled the uneasiness that had settled upon me.

Until Glory, I was satisfied with the solicitous, submissive child-women seeking to regain a father they'd had, or wished they'd had. Someone who would take charge of them and relieve them of any responsibility in deciding what to do with their lives, but cater to their aimless want nonetheless; someone who required nothing more of them but adoration and well-trained servitude. And amongst those wishing to serve, there were those few seeking, ultimately, someone who would keep them, through extreme force if necessary, from becoming replicas of the beautiful but domineering harridans their own fathers had been unable to subdue and control.

And they would do anything, suffer, with alacrity, any indignity, any pain, any humiliation, just to meet their need, whatever that need was, and in so doing, fulfill mine.

Until Glory.

Glory was my greatest challenge. She was neither intimidated nor enthralled by my evident power and natural ability to command and control others, yet I sensed her absolute admiration of me, her longing to submit only to the most worthy, and her need to test not just my resolve, but her own.

Most certainly, she wanted to be overpowered by me. That much was apparent, though she did not express her desire in any manner to which I had grown accustomed. It was also clear that she had no intention of making the campaign easy. I knew she wanted to surrender, to lose and, through losing, gain what she desired, but I also knew she would exert a monumental effort to win, because, otherwise, for her, there would be no point in playing.

From the initial moment we exchanged knowing glances, from our first polite self-introductory words to each other, I found our association, at once, both stimulating and aggravating in a way I had not thought possible.

She was not ordinary and my response to her was anything but ordinary for me. Inexplicably, I found myself breaking rules I had customarily imposed upon those who wished to enter my service and subject themselves to the training I provided. I was astounded by my own desire to converse with Glory because she was singular in that talent. She easily held her own in discourse on myriad topics. I had never found such intellect in my previous charges and I found myself actually looking forward to and savouring the time I spent with her in activities that did not include the whip.

I had never played chess with a woman, let alone any who served me. None had ever expressed any interest in doing so, but Glory was unlike any of her predecessors. Her wish to engage me in that manner and her sincere efforts to win, and not to lose just to please me, captivated me. I should have heeded the warning.

Glory negotiated everything, including the retention of her given name. No charming, diminutive lower-case slave name for her; she was Glory and she intended to remain so. If it had been anyone else, I am certain I would have let it go no further. Anyone else would have been named by me, or I would have dismissed her out of hand for not adhering to the protocols. But Glory possessed an almost preternatural talent that swayed me. For the first time in my life, I desired something more than just the power to control. I could neither fathom, nor describe the aberration, though later, I supposed it might have had something to do with an emotional connection.

I did not reveal any feeling I had for her, yet she was intuitive. Had her intuition been instrumental in eliciting that particular primary concession from me?

Did she perceive, because she clung to the illusion of self-respect, as embodied by the strength of her name, that it was even more gratifying for me, seated in an easy chair, for instance, to beckon her with other names designed to degrade, and watch her crawl naked across the floor and cringe at my feet? Did she further delude herself, while licking first the buffed leather uppers of my shoes and then the grimy soles, humbling herself despite the fact that she did not believe herself a slave? Did she realize that her humiliation was so much more arousing when juxtaposed with the sense of supposed pride she insisted on retaining, even in the face of the most shameful abuses I could devise?

I do not know if she realized then that the very fact of her desire to experience all that I could grant, should I choose to, meant she was already well on her way to complete submission. Did she grasp that it was only a matter of time when, of her own free will, she would beg to be allowed to wear whatever name I selected for her, or for that matter, to bear no name at all, save "girl?"

I wondered if she acknowledged or even recognized the childish silliness of her charade, whenever she lay on her back, knees raised and legs splayed, unmoving, holding her cunt lips open for as long as I ordered — an hour on one occasion — for no other reason than I desired to test her obedience and ability to persevere.

When, upon masturbating in front of her open mouth, I deprived her of my hot spending directly, but instead instructed her to wait, then lap it up cold and gelatinous off a slate floor, did she suspect that the act and image were so much more potent because she had not simply acquiesced to my bestowing her with a suitable slave name?

And when Glory knelt behind me, on command, and buried her nose in that malodorous furrow, drawing her tongue up the length of it, pausing only to mine the fetid hole, did she realize just how cognizant of my power she truly was, uppercase "G" notwithstanding?

With Glory, I came to realize that the debasement of a submissive female was so much more arousing when, despite her clinging to the belief that some semblance of pride in self remained through her ability to withstand any assault on it, such pretense was laughable and the consequent humiliation so much more profound.

It has been said that timing is everything and, perhaps, I happened upon Glory at a critical juncture.

Had I broken her — turned her into just another obedient but unremarkable slave, in a long line of similarly obedient but unremarkable servile toadies — my own power would have been diminished. Other than being able to iterate the empty words, "I won," there is little sense of victory in winning when one's opponent does not make any appreciable effort to do likewise. The humbling is so much greater, when the humbled finally concede that they are lesser through their inherent weakness.

At the point where Glory entered my life, I later realized, I had already been on the brink of a disturbing revelation: The blind obedience and consistently predictable willingness of those tedious, metaphorically slaughter-bound lambs to serve and to be subjugated, without so much as a bleat, had begun to bore me. Glory's arrival had tipped me fully into that recognition of my humdrum state, as falling into an icy pond might have. She reawakened my senses, which, through monotonous, repetitive convention, had been blunted to a degree I had not acknowledged.

It was due to this bold spark, which so revived my dulled wits, that I allowed her winning rounds. I compromised on seemingly important battles, when, in truth, they were nominal victories only, in her favour. Affectation is easily discarded, essence not. Always, I knew that in the end, her mortification would affirm our respective purposes — my supremacy and her servility. Anytime I detected the gleam of triumph in her eyes, I needed only to recollect the image, then refresh the reality of her conquered status. There could be no doubt of it, when I had her lying supine, stretched and secured, dental gag firmly in place and rendering her teeth impotent, while I used her mouth however I pleased, or requirement dictated. It was a simple reminder that conquest was my province alone.

Sometimes, I would have her on her hands and knees, facing the mirrored wall, head pulled back and secured to a harness by her hair, gag in place. I would command her to keep her eyes open and watch, while I ravished both her holes with my own body, as well as with any other implements or objects that took my fancy. It was always with delighted amusement that I would note the widening of her eyes at the introduction of some new instrument of violation. She never ceased to be impressed, and rightfully so, by my creativity and resourcefulness. While she endured, I would observe the fading glimmer of pride replaced by the glow that suffuses a humbled supplicant, the light of certain knowledge that she is owned, that she is helpless and completely dependent upon her master for that which sustains her.

It was only after each surrender and acknowledgement that I might allow her the reward of pleasuring me in an overt sexual manner.

As her prowess in taking me to dizzying heights increased, however, a sense of nagging disquiet worried at me like a buzzing mosquito. It distracted me during my normal waking hours and robbed me of sleep, when rest was sorely needed. While I should have been attending to business affairs, my mind wandered to relive those moments when Glory's mouth and cunt and anus opened that I might instill in her, if only briefly, through my bloated flesh, the corporeal manifestation of my power. Whereas, in the past, I had found total satisfaction in the knowledge of my psychological superiority, a physiological urgency manifested and began eclipsing my mental control. In short, I found myself wanting constantly to fuck any and all of Glory's holes and to experience everything sensual that such release had come to mean to me.

More surprisingly, in the company of females with whom, through necessity, I interacted, I found myself comparing all of them to Glory, trying to imagine them behaving as she, wondering if any one of them could possibly hope to achieve that same degree of submissive perfection to which, despite her illusory pride, Glory aspired.

Upon realizing that I could not picture any one of them filling the void, should Glory, for whatever reason, no longer be available to me, a question gnawed and burrowed its way into my mind, like a hideous, blind lamprey, and attached itself to my brain: Who was controlling whom?

Once the worm took up residence, it became clear to me that I was as bound by my need to make Glory suffer as I was by my need to have her satisfy my own sexually lustful cravings. This was not something I had ever let happen with my previous vessels. The others had so yearned to be filled by what I offered them in exchange for their submission and service that they chose, with embarrassing haste, to relinquish all power. They became drones thence clones. If asked to describe any one of them, I would be hard pressed to find words that would not be descriptive of all. The faces and personalities of those individuals who preceded Glory coalesced into a single bland memory devoid of any distinction that set them apart from each other.

Given the era, in which fate dictated I live, the willingness of many, though welcome, was initially quite startling.

Who would have thought that so great a number of chronologically adult women, many of whom made such pretense of being independent and so much incessant noise about equality, craved only to become obedient little girls again, wishing to please their betters? Who would believe there were so many women with self-directed sadistic tendencies looking for someone to save them the trouble of symbolically flogging themselves, by entering into an agreement wherein that could be accomplished, literally, at the hands of an expert?

Would anyone guess, by looking at the haughty, chill goddesses who had infiltrated the bastions of male superiority, that more than a few of them wished only to take their rightful place, once again, and kneel at the feet of those whose power was ordained and indisputable, and came to me, in supplication, to learn and be trained in the ways of proper servitude?

Those who had no desire to offer ultimate submission, despite their training, I dismissed, but the law of supply and demand worked well in my favour, for there seemed always to be an endless yearning supply awaiting the opportunity to be dominated and mortified according to my demand.

When I tired of the ones who did offer themselves completely — as was my habit, once they were completely broken in and no longer retained any degree of freshness — I would send them on their way. Once I possessed them totally, I would gradually lose interest in them and there seemed little else to do with them, but discard them. There was no point in either party pretending that the association held any promise of rekindled fire.  Possibly, indeed probably, they would seek and find someone else to whom they might offer themselves, and who would, no doubt, appreciate the training they had received, but their ultimate fate was of no consequence to me. What happened to them after they departed my premises, for the last time, was not my concern. If any were unhappy with my choice to send them on their way, none made an issue of it. To my credit, all had learned that I knew better than they did and questioning my final decision was not an option.

Until Glory, my need to inflict pain and humiliation and to be gratified by my success in achieving that purpose brought me my greatest, most exquisite bliss. To be sure, I reveled in the sexual pleasure afforded by the use and abuse of my willing toys, but that had always been peripheral, the dessert included with the banquet, though not an essential part of the meal. It had always been the entrée, cutting into the meat, as it were, which afforded me the supreme satisfaction.

Glory's limits went beyond anything I had ever encountered, but with her uniqueness came something darker, something I realized, too late, was dangerous. With Glory, I began succumbing to the need for libidinous gratification through sexual acts, where my own orgasms became the goal, where my own vocalizations became the music I yearned to hear. Her pain alone and I as the author of it were not enough to secure my pleasure. This was anathema to me.

I was both angered and saddened by the sudden awareness that I considered Glory's continued existence threatening. The threat was a betrayal and I would not countenance betrayal. Others, early in my life, had betrayed me, in various ways, to their detriment, but a tide of sorrow rose in me at the thought that I was being forced to conclude the most complex and arousing association I had ever nurtured.

It would not be enough to simply send her away. If I merely dismissed her, I would know, ever after, that she was out there, somewhere, savouring the victory she had wrested, through guile, against my will.

Imprisonment was not an option, for holding her against her will would oblige me to concede that mine alone was not strong enough to keep her. We had already engaged in caging activity, with one room in the basement designed specifically for that purpose. Though she might very well enjoy being forcibly detained for an indefinite period, she would, doubtless, equally enjoy gloating over the need for it. Forced detention could give rise to other issues, as well, should any of Glory's colleagues choose to seek her out, unless they were given a credible reason for her absence, which I would be unable to provide. I was certain none of them knew of me by name, for Glory had been instructed never to discuss our association except in the vaguest of terms, but there were just too many logistical problems in holding captive someone of her reasonably high-profile stature in the world outside.

No. Neither dismissal nor imprisonment was an option.

On that sun-splashed, crystalline afternoon, when I climaxed with such all-consuming unprecedented force and abandon that it frightened me, I envisioned, for the first time, but certainly not the last, Glory dead.

PART 3

We had discussed erotic cutting.

At first, Glory was unwilling to negotiate.  I was taken aback and told her as much.  She said she wasn't ready to experiment with it.  I asked her why and she said, "The time isn't right."  When I asked what she meant by that, a peculiar, distant look came into her eyes and she paused.  In those few moments, it seemed she'd forgotten me and was observing something in another world.  I was about to ask again and reprimand her for not answering promptly, but just as I opened my mouth to speak, she said, very quietly, "I don't know," as if not knowing surprised her, and I believed her.

She was firm about not doing it, though, and reiterated her reluctance even after I had dropped the subject, which told me everything I needed to know — that, eventually, she would open up to the possibility.

It was her modus operandi for all extreme behaviour which she contemplated seriously — apparently adamant in refusing even to entertain an idea and then, gradually, after due consideration, seeming to soften, to become more amenable to something she ostensibly had had no desire to attempt.

I could always tell the difference between the instances when a particular activity was truly of no interest to her and when her curiosity was piqued, but she attempted to conceal it.  If she knew that I perceived this pattern, through oral and visual cues, she was as successful at feigning ignorance of my knowledge as I was at pretending to be unaware of her little diversions.

I allowed Glory her playfulness.  She and her games, as obvious as they were to me, made my life much more interesting than it ever had been.  She was entertaining.  The first truth, to which she had opened my eyes, was that all those before her had been lacking.  Glory was, to those who had preceded her, as Michelangelo's David to a pre-schooler's clay handprint sculpture.  I wonder if that had been her plan from the start, to so excel at being my perfection that anything less than she would be rendered useless to me.

My musings aside, so her little game went with the cutting.  I knew it was just a matter of time before she would suggest that perhaps, with my permission, we could conduct a little test.  It would take her awhile, but it would happen.

When it finally occurred, I did not foresee the outcome at the inception.  It has crossed my mind, since then, that the conclusion was reached by a design not of my making.


PART 4

I had taken Glory to dinner at the very restaurant where her apparition would later manifest. We had an excellent meal, made all the more enjoyable for the anticipation of what would follow when we returned to my home.

As we dined, I observed her.

In public, Glory always behaved exactly as I had instructed from the beginning. This was another of her endearing attributes that left me, if not breathless, at least admiring. The knowledge that I had trained her, as I might a show dog, to put her best foot forward when on display and that she did so, eagerly, filled me with pride. I admit, too, that I was not just a little amazed at how she could be so flawlessly reserved in the presence of others, yet insanely wanton when it was just the two of us alone.

I often wondered, if I so commanded, would she, in fact, put her shamelessness on public display, as she had, early on, confessed she was willing to do? As I am a private person, however, and wish to remain so, I never pressed her to demonstrate that particular level of submission. It wasn't necessary. It was enough for me, in a public venue, to be aware of the duality of her persona. I could watch the soft-spoken, modest ingénue and see the filthy pain slut howling obscenities, pleading for and enduring every debasement imaginable. That she knew I knew of her inner self was both humiliating and liberating for her, another dichotomy that fascinated me.

I knew that if I were to offer her sexual services to our waiter and arrange an assignation in the alley behind the restaurant, she would comply without question. However I managed it, while I watched and allowed him to fuck her, with the reek of a dumpster filling her nostrils, as he slammed into her — an unusual, even unique, gratuity he would be unlikely to forget — she would offer no resistance. And it would be the same, if it were one waiter or six.

In fact, the multiple servicing was the scenario I had posited near the beginning to see what her response would be to that particular command. I cannot say she did not blink, but any reticence she may have felt, she pushed aside immediately and voiced her eagerness to please me by doing whatever would please them. I told her how delicious that image was, her being fucked in all her holes like a worthless whore by half a dozen of those scarcely better than she and only because of their gender, then left in a filthy, stinking heap, trash upon the trash, leaking their fluids from each orifice. Upon hearing that scenario, Glory had fidgeted uncontrollably and the scent of her excitement filled my nostrils. She wanted it to happen.

But Glory belonged to me and as titillating as that little fantasy was, I have never been inclined to share my possessions unless and until their novelty or usefulness expires. (Even then, I have been known to destroy certain favoured belongings, rather than allow anyone else to use them.) I had never revealed that inclination to Glory, however, and had intimated, on numerous occasions, that should I choose to lend her to others and to observe while they used her in whatever manner I or they chose, the expectation of compliance would be firm. Though she would never know when I might command it, her assent was sincere. That the deed would be done, had I so directed, sufficed.

She picked elegantly at her food, as I had taught her to do, not opening her mouth too wide, which necessitated her taking only small bites. I contrasted that image with the one I had of her the first time I had fitted her with a large ring gag, her mouth stretched open to maximum, fixed in an accommodating "O," with the purpose of training her throat. She sipped the Seyval blanc, of which she was allowed a single glass. I let my mind drift and recalled the times, at my own dinner table, when I would have her kneel by my chair and use her hand to bring me to climax, milking the fluid of her efforts into a crystal goblet, there to mingle with a small amount of wine to create a unique cocktail. Then, only after she requested permission, would I grant communion. I would raise the glass to her lips and tip it, she gulping until it was drained. I made good use of her greed for my bodily fluids.

She was permitted to speak freely, when we dined out, but never until she had swallowed her food and was certain her mouth was clear of any residual morsels. When she did converse, her tone was quiet and respectful. Laughter was kept, obediently, to a minimum, but when it occurred, it was invariably soft and polite. She looked up demurely, from time to time, to bestow a closed-mouth smile, as she knew she was not allowed any brazen displays of her teeth in public. Her mouth belonged to me and I would not permit any more sharing of it with others than might be dictated by the protocols of polite social interaction.

Though in my presence, she was not allowed to make eye contact with others, I had given her permission, from the very beginning, to do so with me. I have always thought it foolish of those, who do not agree to this type of visual contact with their submissives. To see, in Glory's eyes, the light of adoration and  deference — and contrition for any and all transgressions, which she would recount in detail, and for which she would duly atone — never ceased to warm me.

She was dressed modestly, though undoubtedly most of the marks from our previous week's activities would still be visible later, when she removed her tailored suit and silk blouse. The sole adornment she wore was the only one I permitted — a half-inch-wide, silver-plated steel band around her neck  It signified her status as my property as long as she wore it,  as long as I allowed her to wear it. A single loop in front allowed interchangeable pendants to be worn to accommodate her appearance as a stylish professional, but the band itself could not be removed without a tool designed to cut metal. That night, a single tear-drop ruby was suspended just below the hollow of her throat. It glistened like a large bead of fresh blood.

She was in especially good humour that evening, as this was the first night of a two-week vacation. Though she had advised her colleagues that she was traveling, she had made no actual plans to go anywhere. I had ordered her to request the time off that was owed her, just the month before, then described what was to happen. I desired to keep her for two weeks at my place, to be ready for my use at any hour. I warned her that the two weeks would likely be the most grueling she had ever experienced. When I informed her of this little interlude, I advised that a portion of her time would be spent caged and was pleased to see in her eyes both anticipation and trepidation. This would be the longest sustained visit of our association.

I asked her if her bottom was still sore and she replied that it most certainly was. She offered that at work she had been forced to find a reason not to remain seated throughout  a staff meeting, on the day immediately following our last session, and that she had been able to sit, with any degree of comfort, only today.

" I'm delighted to hear that," I said, knowing that under such circumstances, the pain of sitting and remembrance of the cause would keep her in a constant state of excessively moist arousal. Not long after we had met, when the daily effect of our association, on her, became apparent, I had given her permission to wear absorbent pads while at her place of business. I saw no reason to allow her secretions to ruin expensive clothing.

Flames of excitement ignited in her eyes, when I added, "I intend to ensure that the pain will not subside anytime soon. I will be adding considerably to it later this evening. I'll leave it to you to imagine how much greater it will be as your vacation progresses."

She knew her smile was the only response I required.

"And are there bruises on your cunt?"

It thrilled me to see that she could still blush. She glanced quickly to either side. Though I had mentally noted that no staff or patrons were within earshot, her embarrassment that they might be was charming.

"Well?"

She nodded quickly and said, "Yes, sir."

"Yes, sir, what?"

She swallowed and said, "Yes, sir," but then dropped her voice for the remainder of the response.

How I savoured her discomfort. "Speak up, Glory, I can't hear you." She could not mistake the warning in my tone.

She did not meet my eyes, nor did she look around her, but stared at the table between us, when she replied loud enough for me to hear this time, "Yes, sir, there are bruises on my cunt."

"Wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing them." I paused. "And, perhaps, to enhancing them somewhat. Would you like that?"

She looked up at me then, her eyes smoldering, and licked her lips as if she could already taste the pain.

"Yes, sir, I would like that very much."

"Well, you know what they say, Glory, be careful what you wish for. I intend to go to a whole different level this evening. I wonder just how much you will like it before the night is out. The next two weeks should prove … most interesting."

My cock twitched when I glimpsed sincere terror in her eyes and hardened as the light of excitement shone through.

PART 5

She followed me to my home, in her car. I knew that for the duration of the drive, her mind would be filled with the thoughts and images of what might happen over her holiday. I'm sure she sensed that change was coming. I could feel it as well, but when we arrived home, I still had no inkling of how radical the shift would be.

At the restaurant, I had given Glory several instructions for the balance of the evening. As soon as I had secured the front door behind us, she took my overcoat and gloves then removed her own coat and stowed them in the closet. I stood in the foyer and watched while she disrobed completely. She knew to fold her clothes and lay them neatly on the antique deacon's bench and to place her shoes underneath it, side by side and perpendicular to the front of it, before taking the prescribed position for a visual inspection.

She stood on the black and white marble floor, legs apart, arms raised, hands — with fingers interlaced — atop her head. By virtue of this position, her breasts, lusciously pendulous, were uplifted and jutted out, nipples rigid, pointed as if reaching, yearning to be pinched. I knew she wanted that, wanted me to make her yelp right there. I flicked each lightly, twice, a meager hint of the amount of sensation she craved.

The smile I bestowed told her she would have to wait and, of course, grovel, for anything more intense. She knew it was much too soon to beg for anything, however, because  entreaties, of any kind, made with undue haste were punishable by banishment to an isolation cell, where she would be secured in such a manner as to be deprived of sensation and sexual release, as well as my company. Her torment and humiliation would go unseen and unheard. Her pain of no pain would be ignored. She had suffered this penalty only once, learning quickly that there is an art to petitioning.

I did not torture Glory for her gratification; she merely benefited from my desire to torment. Ours was a mutually advantageous association.

As incarceration is a state, with which I have no wish to become familiar, I acknowledged, in my own mind, from our initial encounters, that a good portion of Glory's attractiveness lay in the extreme amount of pain she was capable of enduring. Further, she was more than willing to do so, while tacitly encouraging me, according to our pact, to push those limits according to my need. My attentions had resulted in a number of permanent marks, which, on occasion, I'd found her studying, admiring, apparently holding them in the same esteem, in which materialistically greedy, and therefore much less desirable women, might hold expensive jewelry.

Glory's appetite allowed me to come as close as I possibly could to achieving my true desire and still remain untouchable by the mundane laws that govern a seemingly civilized society. I was perpetually cognizant of the fact that were I to cross that line — take my pleasure by force from an unwilling subject — I would be risking my freedom, my comfortable isolation, and that was a price I dared not gamble, for I was loath to pay it.

Since recognizing the uniqueness that sets me apart from other men, and even before, the very thought of being herded, shoved against, and forced to be in close contact with base humans, repulsed me. As penal institutions are renowned for their reluctance to grant autonomy to those confined therein, I would rather accept the oblivion of death than be compelled to live in circumstances where loss of freedom and control overarches all and contamination from lesser beings is a continual hazard. Fortunately, I have found ways to circumvent such a possibility. Enough have desired to fulfill my requirement that I need not venture outside the law. However, none had ever succeeded as Glory had.

Glory alone had the rare ability to create and maintain the illusion of unwillingness to such a degree that I was easily able to suspend my disbelief that she was choosing to submit to my cruelties. She bore the scars to prove her keenness for suffering the way an actor might cling to gleaming trophies as testimonials to thespian talent. There were times, not unlike during that glaring white afternoon, when I was swept away by the fantasy that none of the torture I inflicted upon Glory for my pleasure was consensual. She was complicit in this artifice and most convincing.

Saying nothing, I walked around her to admire the patterns and colours of the previous week's marks. Some had faded to a pale yellowish-green, but there were yet a good number of blues and purples. Tiny round scabs dotted her back in symmetrical tracks where I'd broken the skin with the needle-pointed wheels. Her thighs and buttocks still bore angry red, encrusted welts, though I suspected their lividness resulted from her tearing off the protective scabs as the wounds healed. Several times before, I had caught her doing that and savouring the renewed sensations as an onanist might. She would be punished for this, not because it might scar her, or in some other way be harmful to her health, but because it was tantamount to unauthorized masturbation and I alone controlled any pleasure she might derive from deliberately inflicted pain.

After a few minutes of admiring both my artistry and the canvas, occasionally running a finger lightly across, then poking at, particularly tender-looking bruises and tingling at her responses — a stifled wince or audible gasp — I turned away saying, "That's all. Go make yourself ready."

Attentive to her instructions, she dropped to all fours and shuffled across the foyer then began the long crawl up the wide, curved carpeted staircase. I smiled, certain that Glory, my wanton, submissive pain slut, uppercase "G" notwithstanding, was, by now, quite ready and fully aware of the glistening thread that oozed from her cunt and trailed behind her.

A wave of anxiety rose from the pit of my stomach, when I realized that as much as I was looking forward to whipping or caning her and absorbing the shrieking dissonance, I was almost overwhelmed, at that moment, by the urge to mount her right on the stairs. I yearned to dig my fingers into the flesh of her hips and, as might a mad rapist, fuck her with as much force as I could bring to bear, oblivious to everything but my cock hammering into her so that I might find release and empty myself into her. I was startled to be able to envision myself losing all control and succumbing to the tyranny of her cunt. I despised my growing addiction and a sudden loathing for the source of it surged upward threatening to choke me.

PART 6

While Glory laboured in solitude, I regained my composure. I fought the repulsion I had felt at the thought that I was somehow in thrall to some imagined power possessed by Glory. She had none, of course. I had allowed myself a frivolous fantasy, for reasons I could not fathom, wherein she had attained an impossibly dominant stature. Such a delusion was unacceptable. For all her extraordinary talents and proclivities, she was still my property, no more and no less, and only for as long as she fulfilled my peculiar need and continued to amuse me.

I chastised myself for letting a flight of unrestrained imagination carry me to a place that was repugnant to me.

Once, while traveling abroad, I had an inclination to see the slums of the city I was visiting. I recall thinking that this would be a noble gesture, a reminder that not all were as fortunate as I. I would, perhaps, purchase some useless, tawdry items at a shop or two in support of the wretches whose only hope was to survive, albeit desperately, for an indeterminate period, on the largesse of travelers such as myself.

It was a foolish endeavour. I was appalled by the squalor before setting one foot outside the taxi I had hired. I had not believed the driver, when he advised me, in broken English, that coming to this area was not a wise decision and went against his better judgment, though he appeared to cast aside his doubts quickly enough, when I offered him a tip far in excess of what the fare would be.

The transition from the clean, fresh façade of wealth depicted in the glossy travel promotions to the foulness of the obscene ghetto was disquieting, like discovering the sordid lies and infidelity of a loved one. The nauseating stench was overpowering and I was forced to raise the window, despite the stifling heat. Filthy, ragged children surged like an undulating, polluted sea around the cab while it rolled slowly through the narrow, garbage-strewn streets. In a way, it was worse to see them through the transparent barrier. It was nightmarish — muffled, unintelligible shouts from their gaping mouths, eyes wide, but not innocent by any account. They looked to be nothing so much as a pack of howling, voracious little beasts that would just as soon rend me limb from limb and devour me as accept my charity. This was where succumbing to an aberrant daydream had taken me, to a place filled with repellent images and the horror of being prey. It was a mistake, which, since that time, I had made every effort never to repeat. Until Glory, I had been successful in that endeavor.

Of course, this was not the same. It was, rather, the opposite side of the same coin. Glory posed no real danger to me whatsoever, but I had allowed myself to create a dark vision that compelled me to believe there was more to her than just the basic need of all her kind. It was time, past time in fact, to drive those intrusive thoughts from my mind. Her business and professional acumen notwithstanding, Glory was powerless. I had spent considerable time and effort in revealing the truth of her status to her and was about to affirm her helpless, servile state, as I had done from the very beginning of our association.

I poured myself a drink and occupied myself vetting correspondence. I savoured the cognac and the knowledge that I was the master of all her torment. More pleasant than the warmth of the potent spirit was the awareness that even without my physical presence, she was experiencing both arousal and dread at what I might have planned, for both the night and the subsequent two weeks, that could push her beyond her limits and break her. This was the element of the unknown responsible for the light of excitement that had flared in her eyes at the restaurant.

I took my time lingering over messages and pointlessly tidying an immaculate desk. I wanted her apprehension and excitement to build, to reach critical mass. I wanted her mad with need, because in such a state, according to our pact, I could venture beyond her limits with impunity. When, at last, I decided sufficient time had passed, I headed upstairs.

Heavy drapes held back the darkness beyond the French doors. The darkness within had yet to be released

Glory had prepared the room to my specifications, laying out, as instructed, all the implements I had advised her I was planning to use, including several, which, despite even her extreme deviance, I knew she found to be more than just a little objectionable. She knew that this was purely a task to elevate her level of fear and, consequently, her arousal. Of course, there was no constraint on me to adhere to any plan in my use of Glory or the instruments, and her understanding of this further stimulated her. At any moment, during the evening ahead of us, I might steer in a direction that would catch her off guard. I might inflict a type of pain, which she had never before experienced, using devices of which she had, as yet, no knowledge. For all she knew, I might simply go directly to my bed and ignore her need entirely, leave her to suffer the absence of any sensation save the desperation to feel. It was entirely up to me and that was the crux of it. I chose, of course, to confer sensations.

Glory, standing in her assigned spot — a circle of black marble tiles set in the gray — had also prepared herself to my specifications.

She had donned steel-banded, black leather wrist and ankle cuffs, as well as a similarly constructed belt, to which several D-rings were fastened. A wide collar, also fitted with D-rings and the reinforcing steel strap, covered the perpetual collar, from which she had removed the pendant. She stood as she had in the foyer, staring straight ahead, unblinking, her eyes not following my progress while I moved around the room.

There were small but sturdy steel padlocks, on the bindings, but Glory was not allowed to secure them. That was my nod to symbolic ritual. When I finally stood in front of her, I nodded once and she followed a set pattern. She balanced first on one leg, raising the other, bent at the knee, tilting her ankle towards me, presenting the lock on the cuff. She did it with ease, as would a ballet dancer, for I insisted that she stay fit and supple. I reached down and snapped it closed. We repeated this with the other leg. She lowered each arm, in turn, to have those locks fastened, as well, then assumed her original position for me to secure the belt. Last, but certainly not least, I engaged the padlock on the collar.

I possessed the master key to the locks and had never made its whereabouts known to Glory. She was a prisoner within the bindings, until such time as I chose to release her.

The first time I had employed these implements of restraint, I mused aloud that should anything untoward happen to me, while she was so adorned, unless she could locate a hacksaw in a timely fashion and free herself, which was unlikely, her attire would make an interesting topic of conversation for the paramedics. It was clear to me that the prospect of being thus revealed to strangers aroused her, while at the same time I could see her mind racing towards the ultimate consequences of such exposure. It was certain to be made public, in some fashion, and her professional image, her reputation as an assertive, competent businesswoman, would be ruined. The veneer would disintegrate, exposing the elemental flaw in the grain. That fear, that image of herself being unmasked, naked and humiliated before her peers, rather than her yearning to become an exhibit to mere public servants, had fueled my passion. I feasted on her fear.

Now, the image of myself lying dead or dying, while she alone related to paramedics what might have transpired prior to their arrival, angered me. I was infuriated by the idea that, in the end, she might best me. The memory of our most recent encounter and my unprecedented responses flared.

I ordered Glory to hold up her arms before her then went to a bank of switches on the wall, flipping one, which engaged a mechanism that lowered a hook suspended on a chain from the ceiling above her.

I fastened the rings on her wrist cuffs to the hook then reversed the mechanism to draw the chain back into its housing. I stopped its progression only when Glory was suspended on tiptoe, straining, arms stretched, leg muscles taut … a captive, tortured ballerina. Without preamble, I grabbed a particularly nasty flogger. The tips of the leather tails were capped with large metal aiglets. I twirled it in front of her and looked into her eyes. She could not have mistaken my intent.

Glory clenched her jaw.

"You picked at those scabs, didn't you, Glory?  You tore them off for the sheer pleasure of it. You know better than that. You know that is not allowed. I control your pain, Glory. I alone decide how much pain and when. I am dismayed that you seem to have forgotten that. Did you forget?"

She shook her head. "No, sir, I didn't forget."

"Well, then perhaps you just don't understand. Have I not made it quite clear?"

She nodded rapidly. "Yes, sir, you have. Very clear."

"Obviously not clear enough. Well, let us see if I can make it crystal for you."

I lashed at her thighs and she shrieked at both the suddenness of the attack and the intensity. I walked around her, rhythmically striking her thighs, her hips and buttocks, her back and finally her breasts. She strained and shook, twisted and twirled in what seemed to be a parody of a ballet, but it was futile; there was no escape. It was just the two of us — a climactic pas de deux.

Ordinarily, Glory was able to refrain from continuous screaming. Ordinarily, I might also have fit her with a gag, because those gurgling, guttural vocalizations, imprisoned in the throat, were often much more satisfying to the ear.  But these circumstances were not ordinary. For the first time in memory, I felt propelled not just by my need to inflict pain and to savour the sounds of anguish, but by anger on the verge of being uncontrolled. And how it thrilled me. Her screeches and howls, the raw, unrestrained temper … primitive, animalistic. Finally, finally, I felt something radiating from her ravaged body … a ravaged, enraged soul that did not want me to stop, did not want me to control my own temper. Her fury spurred mine.

As I imparted to her the crystal clarity of my purpose in her life, the room and everything in it vanished and I found myself in the cavernous gallery of a museum.

I became suddenly a young boy again, weak and ineffectual, no longer the powerful man I knew myself to be. I stood alone in the middle of a magnificent glass exhibition. Shimmering transparent objets d' art surrounded me. Glass and mirrors reflected scores of my image, but twisted, distorted. I remembered this place. I remembered being brought here to see the art, to look upon the beauty and perfection and to learn that anything less was unacceptable. Everything around me mocked my imperfection. And I remembered wishing, more than anything I had ever wanted to do, that I could break all of it. Everything. I imagined myself smashing every glass exhibit case, every crystalline curve and angle within, whirling round and round, windmilling my arms, kicking and stamping my feet, pulverizing every last piece of artistic flawlessness. I yearned to surrender to my anger, to flail and pound my bloodied fists until there was nothing left, but piles of gleaming shards and glittering dust. I wanted to be the artist of utter devastation. Nothing of the rigid, cold beauty must survive.

The horrific cry of a banshee yanked me out of that place and back to the present. Of course, it was no phantom, but Glory wailing, as I had never heard before. I saw the crimson rivulets trickling down her torso and thighs. I saw also the telltale crimson blush upon her heaving chest. It spread upwards suffusing her neck and cheeks. Her eyes were shut tight and she panted harshly through bared teeth, but her lips curved in a terrible satiated smirk. She had climaxed, with unprecedented power, while I had been transported. I had not witnessed her moment.

And I had not given my permission.

I dropped the flogger and, seemingly, of its own volition, my hand darted up and gripped Glory's neck. Her eyelids flew open and there was the gleaming ruin of my crystalline dream. She stared at me, unblinking, gasping the last of her orgasm. I could feel her still shuddering from the spasms that had ripped her apart, fluttering like tattered remnants of a battle flag still raised in defiance. She had deprived me by going to that place on her own, abandoning me as if I were only a tool to be used to facilitate her gratification, rendering my own inconsequential.

I squeezed tighter. Her mouth relaxed, but the smile remained. Then she begged. Still breathless, she rasped out the plea.

"Cut me. It's time now. I need to feel more. Cut me, sir … please.

I could not have pierced her more deeply with knives, when I looked into Glory's eyes and saw her soul, a soul that could ascend only through pain. I relaxed my grip and trailed my fingertips down her chest, across the blush and through bloody streaks on her breasts. I smeared her own blood across her cheek and lips, down her chin, then, backed away from her.

I went to a cabinet, fumbled with a key and the lock and retrieved the instrument I had reserved for just the occasion of her acquiescence.

Standing before her again, I held up the shiny, unimposing scalpel.

It was my turn to smile.

"It looks so small, does it not?  So harmless."

She said nothing, nor did she nod. She simply waited.

I pressed the blade of the scalpel flat against her breast.

"Such a lovely piece of anatomy, your breast, especially with those bloody welts. I know you are proud of your breasts … and the welts, too, come to that. You are far too proud, Glory. You know that, don't you?  You have never been able to rid yourself of that silly and unwarranted pride. That task has fallen to me. I must rid you of it, now … once and for all. Aren't you ashamed that you are too weak to do it yourself?  Is this where you would like me to cut, Glory?  I could mark it in a perfectly gruesome manner. You would not be quite so proud of it then, would you?  So … shall I cut one of your tits?"

How clever she was knowing not to answer the rhetorical questions. And how astute to realize that pleading of any kind was now moot. She had made her entreaty and I would oblige. She would have no say, whatsoever, in where I chose to make the cuts. She knew this and I could see the light of fear in her eyes. She knew there would be pain, but she did not know how much, or if she could bear it. I could see her questioning if she was up to enduring all I could bestow, or if this would be the act that would break her.

I slid the flat side of the blade down, the tip causing only minimal damage to her skin. Her response was so slight that I knew she barely felt the physical discomfort. All that was painful to her was the tease. Still, the anticipation in her eyes was greater than I had ever witnessed. The pain could become, in a heartbeat, more extreme than anything she had ever felt.

I stopped when I reached her groin and pressed harder.

"Is this the place, Glory?  Is this where you would like me to cut you?"

I felt her tense. She swallowed hard and her eyelids fluttered. I thought if I even pricked her lightly, she would, again, not wait for me to allow an orgasm before she would have another. My anger reignited. In taking advantage of my oblivious state, moments before, she had defied me.

In that act, her entire purpose became clear to me. Defiance. Defiance and a desire to appropriate my power.  My affection for her had weakened me, blinded me. I had allowed vulnerability to infect me and with it, her unprecedented negotiations and one minor victory … the retention of a proper name. This is what came of my largesse.  She showed her gratitude through egregious insubordination. Worse, I had allowed myself to be lenient, to set aside the conventions in my life, which I knew, full well, I had established for a reason. I had ignored them, at my peril. My own lax attitude and thoughtless whims had led me to the impasse which now confronted me.

Glory was key to that, though. Until Glory, I had never once slipped. All before her had been renamed and called me master, or were dismissed. No other options were given to them. On no occasion, prior to Glory's entry into my life, had I been tempted or tricked into forgoing the strictures, which had guided my thoughts and actions throughout my adult existence.

Clearly, however, my constraints were not hers. I had believed that when she realized how much I had sacrificed in allowing her to become so deeply imbedded in my life, that she would avail herself of the opportunity to serve me, to become my perfection. I asked myself how I could have been so wrong, but I already knew the answer. My error was in loving her. I knew then that everything Glory did was for Glory alone.  It struck me, at that moment, with the blade of the scalpel poised to cut her flesh, that Glory sought only pain. The constraints I had placed upon her and which she seemingly accepted — obedience, servitude, humility — were merely what she was willing to trade for the exquisite reward of pain, and I was simply the conduit for achieving rapture. They were insincere affectations. She obeyed and served only because it suited her purpose. She was not humbled at all. In fact, the humiliation was mine. She groveled, not because I was her master, or because she acknowledged that she must rightfully defer to my supremacy, but because groveling meant nothing to her except as a means to enable her own gratification.

Some things are not forgivable.

Glory's gaze did not waver, nor did mine. Her eyes dared me, taunted me. Neither of us blinked, but her eyelids fluttered half closed, like those of a lover awaiting a kiss, trying to seduce me, to weaken me further than my love for her already had. I refused to succumb and marshaled my strength.

Left alive she would have been my Damoclean sword. She could tell others and I had no doubt she would delight in so doing; she had just proven her perfidy. Her death would negate that betrayal and restore order. In death, she would become perfect.

As if my hand possessed its own will, the muscles in it tightened. Glory's eyes widened, but only the slightest gasp disturbed the air between us, when I plunged the scalpel into her groin and jerked it upward.

Whether by luck, or knowledge previously acquired, but unnoted, the blade found its mortal mark. In a heartbeat, a surge of fluid warmth inundated my hand.

Glory sighed.

I forced myself to look away from her face and stepped back. Blood pumped from the wounded femoral artery, a pulsing river of red running down her legs to puddle at her toes. I dropped the weapon, staring more in wonder than horror at what I had just done. Glory's expression was one of ecstasy, yet I was no part of it. Would the victory be hers? A deftly applied tourniquet at that point might still save her life. No!  She had goaded me, driven me to this point and there was no turning back. I said nothing as I watched her bleeding out onto the cold marble. In short order, she would be finished.

She looked down once, but I can only assume that she was disinterested in the lifeblood flowing from her, for she raised her head, though not without some effort, and stared at me. Her lips moved and she whispered something, but I was unable to discern what she was saying beyond, "I … I..."

"What, Glory?  What is it?  Are you finally ready to admit your failure?  You haven't much time, my dear."  No trace of fear glimmered in her half-closed eyes, but perhaps she was going into shock. I did not want her incoherent, before she had a chance to concede. I leaned in closer, hoping to hear her confession and contrition. Instead, one corner of her mouth turned up in a smirk and her mouth opened just enough that I caught a glimpse of the glistening serrations. I barely heard the weak gasp for breath, but she exhaled the words audibly.

" I …win."

She fainted then, her head slumping forward.

I win.

Had she screamed those words, they could not have echoed any louder … or enraged me more.

I stumbled to the wall and slammed my hand against the controls, releasing the chain in a rattling metallic cascade. Her body collapsed, with a muted, wet slap, into the bloody pool. Not caring if she was already dead or still dying I unhooked the chain from her cuffs. I rolled her onto her back and one of her arms flopped with a flat, dead sound against the floor. Her sightless eyes stared at the swinging chain, but her lips remained fixed in a rictus of scorn.

I win.

It overwhelmed me then … the red, bloody rage. I scrabbled, on hands and knees, for the scalpel and gave vent to my fury. I slashed at the mocking grin and the eyes that held such contempt, even in death. I plunged it, again and again, into Glory's lifeless body, but it wasn't enough to assuage my wrath. The blade of that instrument was too feeble, the paltry mutilations not enough to obliterate Glory's disdain. Though torn and bloody, her body, was still intact enough to be an affront.

Barely aware of the gore clinging to me, I stood up and stared at the inglorious remains, bewildered that only minutes before I had loved what they had been.

I knew that I could allow no vestige of Glory to remain as witness, however mute, to the fact that she had bested me in life and threatened to do so in death, as well. I had the means to dismember then disperse her carcass. Consigned to the oblivion of no grave and scattering her remains wherever I fancied, the memory of her would fade and she would be forgotten by those who knew her. There would be no concrete evidence of her ever having passed through my life. Glory would be rendered powerless.

A formidable task lay ahead. Though the hour was late, I did not consider retiring. I pondered how such an act, as I had just committed, should have been exhausting. I should have felt as drained as the body on the floor. Instead, I was invigorated and strangely elated, as if I had just taken the first step on a rousing adventure, an expedition of a thousand miles, ten thousand miles … or more. Why should I limit myself? It was time, time to take the second step and I had no wish to postpone the journey. I had much to do.

PART 7

Earlier today, a policeman came to see me. I have no rational explanation for what ultimately followed.

He arrived unannounced and that was disturbing enough to set me on edge. As I have said, I do not countenance uninvited guests, though I suppose a police detective could hardly be thought of as a guest, in the social context. At best, I would call him a visitor …an unwelcome visitor. Anyone from the city, however, wishing to call upon me, must make some effort to do so and how he surmised I would be at home and available, and that he was not wasting his trip, I do not know. Perhaps he simply trusted to luck, although he does not seem to be the type to do anything that relies solely on chance.

I was alone, in the sitting room, where a modest fire burned in the hearth, when the sharp beep of the motion sensor alarm roused me out of a post-luncheon reverie. As I was anticipating no one, I thought the electronic device, located at the entrance to my property, might be faulty. Still, I went to a window that allowed me an appropriate view, detouring to switch off the calming, perfect measures of a Bach partita. Shortly, I observed an unremarkable black car pulling up to then stopping in front of the house. I watched the driver, the sole occupant as far as I could tell, exit.

He glanced up at the façade of the building before him, permitting me a glimpse of his features and revealing a man who appeared to be well into late middle age. I did not recognize him. He blended into the overcast day, his gray overcoat cloaking a body hunched against the wintry wind. One black-gloved hand gathered the lapels of the coat to his neck, as further protection from the elements. The other was tucked in his pocket.  He trudged up the steps, to all appearances world weary, and the door chime rang a moment later. I considered ignoring it, but admit being curious as to his identity.

I waited, however, until the stranger pressed the bell once more. Whoever he was, I wanted him to stand in the bitter cold long enough to appreciate that I was otherwise occupied and that his visit was an imposition. I paused another few seconds then opened the door.

I said only, "Yes?"

He asked me to confirm my identity and I parried by asking his.

He pulled out a small leather folder, flipped it open, revealing a shiny badge, and identified himself as a detective sergeant with the police department from the district in which I knew Glory had resided. After I verified who I was, he advised me that he was investigating the report of a missing person. I remained calm when he told me what I now expected to hear, that the case involved one Glory Madder. I acknowledged that I knew her and expressed surprise at this disturbing news. When he said he had a few questions for me, if it was convenient, I was tempted to tell him that it was not convenient at all, but thought it unwise to antagonize him. I felt in no danger, for I had been thorough, yet any unwillingness to cooperate would surely be perceived as suspicious and, therefore, disadvantageous. I invited him in and led him to the sitting room.

"Nice and warm in here," he said, surveying the room. "Wicked cold out there today."

"Yes. Please, have a seat, detective."

Looking around, he pulled off his gloves and tucked them in his pockets, then undid his coat. He chose the end of the sofa closest to the fire, settling in with an audible sigh.

During this brief series of actions, I wondered who this man really was, or, more accurately, what he might represent in my immediate future. Presumably, he was at or past the age, when most in his occupation would have climbed the professional ladder to a position that precluded footwork, or leaped at the idea of retirement. The aura of ennui about him did not jibe with the fact of his presence. His fatigue, it seemed to me, was not that of a stoic, aged leader watching his troops decimated, but of a warrior wounded and bloodied, yet not willing to concede the battle. In that moment, I perceived a man who was not interested in career advancement, or in spending his golden years ambling across the greensward in pursuit of a dimpled white ball. Here was a man whose mission was to pursue and unearth answers, no matter the cost in time or effort. To an ordinary man, who had committed such acts as I had, this detective's agenda would present a danger. To me, he was, potentially, an opponent, albeit a quixotic one and likely unworthy. I would let him tilt at his windmills, for all the good it would do him.

I slid the fire screen aside, picked up a small log, and placed it atop the two already burning on the andirons, then took the poker and adjusted them. A crackling shower of sparks flew up the chimney and with it, an image burst into my brain. It would be so easy, I thought, to whirl around and strike the intruder across his skull. I had no reason to do that — he was no immediate threat to me — and yet, I found the image appealing. I wondered how it would sound. Would it crack or thud?  Would there be great or little resistance?  How would the blow feel as the vibrations traveled the length of the poker thence my hand and arm? Would the sensations evoked by a bludgeoning death, for no reason other than whim, differ from those I experienced when I was stabbing Glory in anger and revenge?   Whatever the physical sensations, I knew it would be gratifying … gratifying, but reckless. The gratification would not be worth the consequences.

My back was to him and I allowed myself a satisfied smile. He had no idea that his life was in my hands. I replaced the poker in the stand, caged the fire once more, and relaxed into the easy chair, the one in which I had been resting prior to his arrival.

"How can I help you, detective?"

He reached inside his coat and retrieved a small coil-ringed notebook and a pen from the breast pocket.

"Well, sir, Ms Madder's employer has filed a missing persons report. It seems she was away on vacation and when she still didn't return to work the day after she was scheduled to — this past Monday — and didn't call or email them, they thought it might be a good idea to look into her whereabouts."

"I see. Well, I'm not sure how I can help. I knew she was going on vacation, but I haven't seen her … or heard from her … since the evening before she left."

"What date would that have been?"

"Well, let me see."  Although that date was burned into my memory, I made a pretense of thinking back and mentally calculating, then told him.

"And that was the last time you saw her?"

"Yes, we dined out and she came back here for the evening."

"Did you pick her up at her work?"

"No, we met at the restaurant."

"That would be DiCaprio's, where you had dinner with Ms Madder?"

"Yes. I dine there often. They know me quite well."

He nodded then said, "So I understand. In fact, that was how we found you. We saw the name of the restaurant on her calendar at work. We checked and there was a reservation in your name. The maitre d' remembered her being with you."

"Well, he would. As I said, I'm a frequent patron."

"Yes."  He jotted something down in the notebook then asked, "How well do you know Ms Madder, sir?"

I frowned. I needed to appear thoughtful. "Glory and I … we have … an arrangement."

Despite the heat from the fire, a sudden chill skittered over my skin as soon as I spoke her name. I shivered and though he appeared to notice and paused, eyebrow cocked, he did not remark on it.

"Arrangement?  You know her intimately, then?"

"Well, intimate implies a good deal more than how I would describe our relationship."

"How would you describe it?"

" I'd say … it's a mutually convenient relationship. Neither of us wants any serious commitment. Both of us were up front about that from the beginning."

He nodded again. "I understand. You aren't in love with each other then?  No plans for a long future together?"

"Good heavens, no. detective. It's … sexually advantageous, nothing more or less. We like each other well enough, but I'm the perennial bachelor and she is the consummate businesswoman on her way up the corporate ladder. Glory has told me that she doesn't have the time for anything more complicated and I don't have the inclination."

No sooner had I said her name, than she appeared.

It had been four days since her appearance at the restaurant and as she had not manifested since then, I had reassured myself that it had been a one-time aberration brought on by stress and, perhaps, some mild illness-induced fever. The shock, now, was so great that I could not stifle a gasp.

"Are you alright, sir?"

I recovered myself, as quickly as possible, under the circumstances, and patted my chest, forcing a cough.

"Yes. Yes, I've just been feeling a little under the weather. Coming down with something, I think. In fact, I was resting … dozing … just before you arrived."

He responded, but I did not hear what he said. My eyes were riveted on the apparition seated beside him. It was Glory … whole, beautiful, and completely naked except for the black leather cuffs locked around her wrists. She once told me they were her favourite accessory and had thought about leaving a directive, in her will, that she be cremated wearing them. As far as I know, she never mentioned anything about wearing them, in the event of her being stabbed to death then dismembered. During the dismemberment, I did not remove the cuffs, but detached her hands above the wrists. Those had been the first cuts. I had laid them aside, folded primly, one over the other, as if waiting patiently — as a woman should — whilst attending to the remainder of her body.  Those hands had been disposed of separately, but here they were again, cuffs and all, reunited with the rest of her reassembled body.

I started when the policeman addressed me by name.

"What?  What did you say?"

"I asked if you're sure you're alright?  You don't look at all well."

"No, no. My apologies, detective. I'm fine …just a little dizzy. I hope it isn't the flu."

"Well, it's going around, isn't it?  I'll try to make this quick. Just a few more questions."

All I could do was nod.

Glory glanced around the room as if checking to see if anything had changed since last she was here. She turned towards the detective and smiled, then tossed her head back, the streak of white hair flashing against the chestnut, and appeared to laugh, but no sound came out of her open mouth. Then she stared right at me and stuck out her tongue. Brazen, bratty, unashamed. She had never done that in life. She would not have dared.

"Did Ms Madder stay with you the night before she was to leave on her vacation?"

I answered the question, while I watched Glory raise her heels to rest on the edge of the sofa and spread her legs wide, revealing the wet, red gash of her cunt. Clear fluids leaked out onto the cushion.

"No. I asked her if she wanted to — she was always welcome to stay over — but she was driving south for her holiday and she told me she wanted to get an early start in the morning. She said she still had some packing to do. She left not long after we …" I let the sentence hang.

"What time would that have been?"

I feigned thought then shrugged. "I have no idea. I know we got back here around nine, or half-past, somewhere thereabouts, but I didn't make a note of when she left or how much time passed between then and when I went to bed. I'm not quite sure what time that was either, though I'm fairly certain it was well past midnight."

"Did she tell you where, exactly, she planned to go on her vacation?"

The circumstance in which I found myself was so bizarre that I almost laughed aloud. The juxtaposition of the mundane and the fantastic put me in mind of that most famous of silent films where a rocket lands in the eye of the man in the moon. The whole thing was ludicrous. The policeman asked me questions and I answered, as if nothing at all were amiss, while I sat there watching Glory miming perverse, sexual gestures beside him.

She looked as solid to me as the detective did, yet I knew it was a phantasm, because the man was completely oblivious to her presence and no man, regardless of any particular personal proclivities, could possibly have ignored what Glory was doing had she been real.

"No. She simply said she was heading south to warmer climes. I can't say I blame her. She mentioned stopping along the coast wherever she pleased. If she had a specific agenda, she didn't make me aware of it."

Glory shoved three fingers inside her cunt and moved them in and out several times, then, as if she was scooping out the last of some preserve from a jar, pulled out her hand, all slick and shiny, and held it up to show me the clear, glutinous prize.

"In your experience, was that typical?"

She leaned towards her hand and stuck out her tongue, which was now obscenely long, as if it belonged to a bear searching out honey from a hole in a tree trunk instead of to a woman, and in one long swiping motion, licked upwards along her hand.

"Yes, actually, it was. She was something of a free spirit … unpredictable."

Glory was not content to lick her own hand. She held it in front of the detective and appeared to smear the residue over his mouth and chin. He spoke as she did it. I forgot myself then, because the impossibility was too much for me. How could it be that she was touching his face and her limbs seemed opaque, yet he did not respond in any way?

"I beg your pardon. What was the question?"

"It wasn't a question. I said that her colleagues and co-workers describe her much differently."  He consulted his notebook. "In fact, they said quite the opposite. They describe Ms Madder as 'organized, predictable, and grounded.' That doesn't sound like the same person, not like a free spirit, at all."

Glory had stopped what she was doing, but a mischievous expression lit up her face. Her eyes glittered. She hopped up from the sofa and flitted about the rooms, her generous breasts bouncing. It struck me then that she had no scars. There was not a single mark anywhere on her body. I stared more closely and saw that even her moles and birthmarks were absent. Her skin was flawless. In death, she had indeed become perfect.

I tried not to pay attention to what the apparition was doing, though it was difficult, for she had returned to the sofa and was holding a breast in either hand, cupping them from below and joggling them in front of the policeman's face. Then she turned back to look at me. She raised one and bent her head down to lick and pinch the nipple between her teeth. It was clear to me that she was biting hard. If I had bitten her that way — and I often had — she would have hollered, begging me to let her orgasm.  It was at that point I realized I was growing hard. I swallowed.

"Surely, detective, people have different personae at work than they do at play. She and I were not business associates; we were … companions. No doubt her colleagues knew her as predictable and grounded, as you say, and I'm sure that is how she behaved on the job, but that was not the Glory I knew during our leisure time. That isn't so unusual, is it?"

"I suppose not. I suppose, on the job, it's a question of propriety."

"Yes, just so. At work, I'm sure she was the personification of the staid, reserved professional, but when she and I were together, she was always coming up with bizarre notions. The way she behaved around me was evidently not the way she behaved at her place of business."

"Bizarre notions, sir?  In what way?"

I shrugged. "Well, she has some strange ideas. For instance, she once remarked to me that the world would be a better place if everyone walked around nude. She said everyone would be a lot healthier and would have nothing to hide. I have nothing against the naturist movement, detective, but I told her quite frankly, I didn't think that would work in this climate. She said that evolution would take care of that, eventually, and people would grow fur instead. They'd end up looking like bears or bobcats. Tell me that isn't a bizarre notion, detective."

He frowned for a moment, ostensibly mulling over the concept of highly-evolved, excessively hirsute humans, but what Glory did next had me transfixed, ignoring him.

PART 8

She sashayed to the fireplace and retrieved a solid, clear glass figurine from the mantel. It was a unique, sculpted piece that I had acquired many years before. Ten inches in height, roughly cylindrical and heavy, it depicted a standing male figure, legs together, arms straight down, tight to its sides, seeming paralyzed. A disproportionately large penis, erect against its belly, reached up towards the chest.  The head was bald and egg-shaped, the face reflecting abject terror. Almost semi-spherical, with only small depressions for pupils, the eyes bulged. The nose, a bulbous nub, was wedged above a gaping maw, as if the little man were screaming. Along the entire length of the statue, there were no protrusions that were not rounded.

It was a singularly hideous piece, which I knew I must possess the moment I spied it, though I knew not why. Perhaps its potential made itself known to me on a subconscious level. Whatever the reason, it had the distinction of being the very first object, not specifically obtained for purposes as a sex toy, though it may or may not have been designed as such, which I had used to violate all of Glory's holes.

That first time, early on in our association, I placed it on the floor in front of her. I had her kneel, naked of course, with her arms behind her back, first to pick it up by its head, using only her mouth, and then, still kneeling, but erect, holding it that way, for thirty minutes. Throughout the ordeal, I sat several feet away in the easy chair, facing her, reading and periodically flicking her breasts with a long dressage whip. To her credit, although she whimpered and drooled around the phallic object, gradually bending forward as the weight taxed her jaws, she did not drop it. I rewarded her by fucking her with it. First her cunt, which was so drenched the head slipped in easily, but eliciting groans as the remaining girth, to the base of the penis, tested her, and then her anus. Even artificially lubricated, that had been a trial for her, being of a size to which she was unaccustomed, but she had endured, and thanked me when I was done with her. Afterwards, I made her clean it and place it upon the mantel, as a prominent visual reminder, that no part of her was not mine to use as I pleased.

The glass man had been pressed into service sporadically after that, though less often as I found other objects with which to test her, and then, while our association progressed, as my desire to violate Glory myself, rather than employing surrogates, increased.

Now, she sucked on the head of the statue, as if it were a lollipop, while she made her way back to the sofa.

"Odd notions notwithstanding, do you know Ms Madder to be irresponsible at all?"

The detective continued his interrogation as if an orgiastic pantomime was not going on around him. As far as I could tell, he perceived nothing unusual, except, perhaps, my own behaviour, for I am sure he must have noticed my distracted mien, despite my efforts to retain my composure.

"Irresponsible? How do you mean?"

Glory climbed up on the sofa, but instead of seating herself on it, she perched on the back of it, spreading her legs wide and placing her feet on the cushion.

"Well, going off for long periods and not letting you know where she was … that sort of thing. Did she do that often?"

"I don't find her to be irresponsible that way, but, detective, ours is not an association that requires either of us keeping the other informed as to what we're up to. As I told you, it's a mutually satisfying relationship based solely upon, to put it bluntly, our sexual needs. We're free to do as we please, even see other people, if such an opportunity presents itself."

He raised an eyebrow at this, but did not comment directly. Would he view this as an implausible scenario?   Had I gone too far in my fabrication?

"Do you suppose she might have met someone on her travels and taken up with him? Would she feel compelled to tell you if she had?"

"She might have met anyone and done anything and, no, there would be no reason for her to tell me one way or another. We simply don't keep tabs on each other."

"So you haven't heard from her since she left on her vacation?"

"No. I told her I would call her after her projected return date. I said I'd give her a few days to settle back in and get caught up at her job, then she could tell me all about her holiday when we got together again."

"So you aren't alarmed at all that she hasn't been in touch with you since her departure?"

"Why should I be alarmed?  As far as I knew, she got back this past weekend and returned to her job on Monday. I was planning to call her tomorrow night."

"You were going to see her?"

"No, I was just going to call her. Considering how I'm feeling, I hardly think I'd be up for anything more than a chat on the phone. And I'm not a total cad, detective … which is what you surely believe I am … I wouldn't want her to catch whatever it is I've got just to satisfy some physical need on my part."

"Yes, of course. And no, sir, I don't believe you're a 'cad,' as you say. These are different times than when I was a young man."

Throughout the exchange, Glory alternately licked the glass head and rubbed it along her cunt. With her free hand, she rolled each nipple, in turn, between her thumb and forefinger, then pinched them … hard … making an exaggerated wincing expression each time. There was still no sound to accompany any of her actions. This was purely a visual hallucination. I could not make it stop and part of me did not want it to. I had to see where she would take this charade. I felt as if I were being carried on a wave, towards some unseen destination, helpless in the grip of an overpowering current. My erection strained against my briefs but, fortunately, remained hidden beneath the looser fabric of my trousers.

"Do you have any reason to believe Ms Madder would take her own life?"

I heard his words, but could not grasp them.

"I beg your pardon?"

"I wondered, sir, if you have any reason to believe Ms Madder might choose to commit suicide?"

I did not have any trouble reflecting surprise at his question. Although my plan was based on the eventual presumption of Glory's apparent suicide, I had not foreseen anyone coming to that conclusion so quickly. Had they found her car already?

Finally, I said, "None, detective, none whatsoever. Why are you asking?"

He reached into his inside pocket once again and withdrew a folded sheet of paper. As he did so, Glory slipped the head of the glass figure into her cunt, a veil of ecstasy supplanting the mischievous, teasing expression. He unfolded the paper and studied it for a moment, then stood up, leaning over the coffee table between us, and handed it to me.

"That's a photocopy of a note that was found in Ms Madder's apartment. We've confirmed it's her handwriting."

I stared at the words for several moments, letting them sink in.

I'm tired of the pain, but I know that without it, I won't feel anything at all and that's worse. It will never be enough, but I'm just so sick and tired of it and all I want is for it to end. I want more. I know I'm weak, but this time will be different. This time I'll be stronger. This time — I am going to win.

My frown was genuine. The pieces were falling into place even as the policeman watched me re-reading the note, which confirmed what I had half suspected since I watched her bleed out at my feet and was now forced to admit. Glory had planned it. She had planned her own suicide … suicide by murder. She had left the note in her apartment, which, though I had no reason to visit, could not have done anyway, without exposing myself to dangerous scrutiny. Security cameras, everywhere, are the new reality. How could she have known it would work, though? How could she have known, for certain, that I would be the instrument of her death, either that night, or at some point during her planned two-week stay as my willing captive? She could not have predicted my rage and subsequent loss of control. She could not have known that, even losing my temper, I would not just dismiss her, or lock her up in the cage for the duration. Had she simply gambled?

I handed the note back to him and he sat down again.

"I don't understand," I said, shaking my head and wearing as pained an expression as possible. It was not that difficult. The pain of betrayal, of knowing it had been her game and her rules all along, was real. "There was no … I had no idea."

Glory, still perched on the couch back, looked at me through half-closed eyes. The corners of her mouth turned up ever so slightly. Never had a woman looked so sly, so smug. She had played me for a fool. Her hand pushed the glass man further up inside her.

"Can you make anything of it, sir?  Do you know what she's talking about?  The pain?  Any idea to what pain she is referring?"

I shook my head, still trying to digest what she had done to me and look appropriately aggrieved, rather than furious.

"You'll forgive me, detective, but as casual as our relationship is … was … this is a shock. No, I don't believe it. This must be some kind of practical joke on Glory's part. It's something she would do. She was … she is … a little twisted. I'm sure she's somewhere, right this moment, alive and well, enjoying her little game."

As if to prove that assertion, Glory's fingers pushed the little transparent man inside her up to the base, a feat, which would have been impossible, in life, without inflicting severe injury. I had never used the full length of him in her — I savoured her pain and spared her little — but she would have been no use to me irreparably damaged. She stared straight at me, not watching what she was doing and then, even though the protrusion of its feet would ordinarily have prevented it, she gave the base an extra push and the feet disappeared. Her eyes widened and her lips pouted a rapturous 'O,' as if her cunt had devoured a sumptuous meal and she was in the throes of gustatory delight.

"Well, sir, whether she is 'twisted,' as you say, or not, we must take this note seriously. She has been reported as missing, so it's up to us to locate her. Of course, we hope to find her alive and well, but …"

"Yes, of course. I can't imagine … I mean if she …"  Was I being distraught enough? Too much, too little? Until information, of an official nature, confirmed her status, I thought it best to appear alternately hopeful and despondent, without going to extremes.

The detective leaned forward.

"But if she was planning to kill herself, sir, she might have had second thoughts," he said. "It sounds, from the note, as if she has contemplated it before and not gone through with it, so she may not have done it yet. Perhaps, if she did make it to her planned destination, her spirits revived. Maybe she met someone and changed her mind. There are many possibilities."  It sounded as if he was attempting to comfort me, to assuage what he perceived as my fears for her life. "She may have gone somewhere to think things over, perhaps contemplate making some life changes, that sort of thing. That could be why she hasn't returned. Gone some place to meditate, pull herself together."

I almost laughed aloud at those words and would have, but for the horror of what Glory was doing. Impossible though it would be in reality, her hand had followed the statue and was buried in her cunt up to her wrist. It wasn't the physical impossibility of her fist inside her that had me aghast, for I had done that very thing to her on numerous occasions and had her do it to herself, as well. No, the shock was in knowing that the statue was already inside her and how could she possibly accommodate all of what was in there now?  Of course, I knew it was conceivable within the confines of the hallucination and this could not actually be happening, but at that moment, it was real to me, and that realism justified my astonishment.

"Yes," I agreed, "That's it, isn't it?  She's gone off to rest and recuperate. Her job is quite stressful. She mentioned to me, not long ago, that she felt as if she was burning out. She's had some failed relationships, too, which is another reason we aren't … serious. Perhaps it all got to be too much for her and she needs to be away from it for longer than just a couple of weeks."

It was difficult making ostensibly coherent conversation, while witnessing the ghastly, silent spectacle taking place on the sofa.

Half her forearm, cuff and all, had disappeared. Her face had become a hideous mask, her mouth fixed in a rictus of pain and pleasure, not so different from the way she had often looked when I was subjecting her to some of the more delicious tortures I had devised to treat myself and test her mettle. I recalled how often she seemed unable to close her mouth, as if an invisible gag forced her jaws to remain agape. Her screams would fill the air around me then permeate my being, reverberating inside me, as might the taut, vibrating strings of a piano.

In tormenting Glory, I had created harmonic resonance that propelled me to heights of euphoria. Now I questioned why that had not been enough for me. How could I have been seduced into believing there could be any greater bliss than that?  What had taken hold of my ordered, disciplined mind and twisted it into the chaos that was playing out now?

When I was dissecting her, I had examined closely all the parts before packaging them for transport and disposal. I had hoped I would find something, some strange little organ, an alien growth, anything that would explain why I should have been attracted to her, when no others before her had such an effect. It was a foolish, pointless endeavour. For one thing, I had not dissected any of her predecessors, so there were no relative search parameters. Ignorance of what to look for notwithstanding, I knew I would find nothing visible to the human eye. I do not believe anyone has ever discovered a tumor linked to causality in the matter of love and the inexplicable consequent insanity.

Glory drew her arm out, slowly, mouthing inaudible gasps. Thick, clear slime coated the appendage. When her hand popped out, she jerked. I expected to see the glass statue emerge, but it did not.

"We've checked the available security camera footage at Ms Madder's condominium … the parking garage and entrances, the nineteenth floor, where she lived. It appears there is neither a recording of her having returned to her apartment that last night she was with you, nor of her leaving anytime after that, though, oddly perhaps, that morning, she does show up carrying some luggage and a tote bag. The garage footage shows her placing those items in the trunk of her car, so it would seem that she was planning on not returning to her apartment before she left on her vacation. None of her colleagues have seen or heard from her since she left work that last evening, when she met you for dinner. In fact, at this point, it seems you were the last person who saw her that night and the only person we know of, at this time, to have seen Ms Madder since that night."

"I have no explanation for you, detective. As I said, Glory left here sometime before or around midnight. What she did after that, I have no idea."

Glory grabbed a breast in either hand and squeezed each of them, thrusting them in my direction, shaking them obscenely, again sticking her tongue out at me and making an ugly, taunting face. I gripped the chair arms to keep from leaping up to throttle her. The detective would most certainly have thought me mad had I done so. I had to remind myself that what I was seeing was not real. It occurred to me, just then, that I might actually be sleeping. Had I fallen asleep in front of the fire and dreamt everything, including the arrival of the policeman?

"But she did tell you she was going home to do some last-minute packing?"

"Yes. Well, that's what she told me. I don't know … perhaps she lied for some reason. I have to admit that although we had a lovely dinner together and she came back here with me, I sensed a lack of enthusiasm for our lovemaking that evening. As if she wanted to get away quickly. She seemed … distracted."

"Is it possible, sir, that she was meeting someone else?"

I shrugged and, despite Glory's attempts at diversion, did my best to appear as if I was seriously considering the likelihood.

"Of course, it's possible. I've already told you, ours was not an exclusive relationship. In fact, I suppose it is entirely possible that she wasn't even going on her vacation alone. Perhaps she went directly from here to meet someone else. Perhaps she didn't have any packing to do at all and it was just an excuse to not stay over. Your guess would be as good as mine."

"So, she may have been lying?"

"I suppose she might have been. I never really thought about it."

"Did she make a habit of lying to you?"

"No. Well, I don't know. I mean if someone lies to you and you don't know they're lying, then you don't know if they make a habit of it."

"So, she may have lied to you and then gone to meet someone else, yet you have an open, ostensibly honest relationship. Wouldn't she have told you, if that was what she had planned?  Would she have a reason to lie?  There wouldn't have been any repercussions, would there, if she'd told you?"

"None at all. I can tell you up front, detective, that neither of us is possessive or jealous. We are both free to see other people. But, no, just as I don't keep her informed of everything I do, she wouldn't have necessarily told me. For all I know, she may even be planning to break it off, for some reason, and just didn't want to get into all that before she left for her holiday."

"Does that idea upset you at all?"

"What?  Her breaking up with me?"

"Yes. Would that bother you?"

"Well, yes and no. We've got a good thing going and it's convenient. I wouldn't want to lose that, but, on the other hand, that type of woman … professional, committed to her job, but not wanting to be tied down … they're a lot more common these days. Perhaps she was tiring of me. And I'm a man of modest means, detective, though I'm sure that's relative. Certainly I'm comfortable, but there are much wealthier fish in the sea. She may be seeking to increase her own investment portfolio, as it were. If that's what she wants to do, I'm certainly not going to stand in her way. I laud her for her initiative. I've never had any trouble finding … companionship… so the idea of a break-up doesn't really bother me."  I chuckled then added, "Of course, it would be a bother having to break in a new one."

He frowned and I realized that what I thought was the type of base, casual humour most other men would find amusing, this man did not. I may not be ordinary, but neither is he.

"I just meant that Glory was used to all my proclivities and quirks and it would take a while and be a bit bothersome to reach that level of familiarity again. You understand, I'm sure."

"Yes, of course. So it's possible that she may have been contemplating a break-up?"

"Anything is possible. Maybe she met someone some time ago and wanted to think it over while she was away. Maybe she met someone while she was on vacation. I simply don't know, detective. There are just so many variables."

He nodded and sighed. "I suppose there are. We've many avenues to explore yet."

"Well, there is the note. I mean if she … I don't really like to think about it, and I certainly don't believe it, but if she did decide … I mean she may have found a remote area anywhere along the coast and … "

I had paused, not only because I wanted to leave the thought unspoken, as might someone who does not want to entertain the worst-case scenario, but because Glory had begun jerking in a horrifying way, a parody of her explosive pain-induced orgasms.

"Yes, and if that's the case, it could be awhile before we find anything of a concrete nature. We have been in touch with other law enforcement organizations, already, though. It's just a matter of time."

I found myself unable to respond, as I was watching Glory have what appeared to be a most gruesome seizure.

I could not help but recall a cat we had owned, when I was still a young boy, and what had happened one morning. I had never seen anything like it before. The beast had been outside. I let it in the house and thought it would march past me to its favourite spot in the bay window, but it stopped, not three feet away from me, and began yowling deep in its throat, then heaving and making repulsive gurgling sounds. For several moments, I watched enrapt while its sides spasmed. The noises grew louder, the jerking more violent. It crouched and backed up at the same time, mouth open, rasping, retching. I could not take my eyes off this appalling display. Before I could think what to do, it hacked and spewed a lumpy puddle of barely-digested prepared cat food and a cylindrical mass of sodden gray fur.

I was at once revolted and fascinated. Then I looked closer at what the cat had thrown up and spied what could only be parts of some small animal, most likely a mouse. I ignored the cat, which trotted away, apparently none the worse for its experience. I grabbed a freshly-cut flower from the vase on the hall stand. With the stiff, dripping stem, I poked at the vomit, separating minute bone fragments from guts. What looked, at first, like a dead worm, was a long tail. Upon closer examination, I found one intact eyeball. I rolled it around with the stem, then away from the rest of the offal, to the tile floor. I poised the stem tip for a moment, then pressed. The sightless glassy bead burst without a sound.

Now, Glory was heaving in the same manner as the long-dead cat had done. Her legs were still spread wide, feet planted on the couch seat, but her arms, ending in tightly-clenched fists, were half-raised as if someone was pointing a gun at her. She wrenched her torso back and forth. Contractions rippled her abdomen and chest. As with the cat, I could not look away. Unlike the cat, Glory made no sounds. My erection shriveled.

Her mouth gaped wider than would have been humanly possibly, as if her jaws were hinged like those of a snake. I stared into the black cavernous maw as she leaned forward and gagged twice, then, from the depths of that abyss, began the horrific expulsion. First, the glassy dome of the statue's head appeared. Glory's own head had become a grotesque mockery of what had been an ideal of feminine beauty in life. She jerked forward then heaved and retched several times, as her mouth expelled the entire statue, first the head, then the chest to the top of the penis. Her throat contracted then expanded as the penis and buttocks emerged, and finally, the legs and feet . The paroxysms ended abruptly, once she had ejected the statue with a gush of blood mingled with what appeared to be the sticky fluids that had eased its passage into her cunt. It bounced off the couch and landed, face up, at the detective's feet. A vile, viscous trail stretched from Glory's grinning, but now normal-sized mouth, to the monstrous filth she had vomited onto the carpet.

As I gazed upon the thing, its lips seemed to move. They wavered and curled, stretching but never closing, miming the squalls of a newborn creature.

Gripping the chair arms, I half stood, my gorge rising, unable to tear my eyes away from the atrocity.

The detective leaped up and came to me quickly, blocking my view of both Glory and the glistening nightmare she had birthed. He steadied me, helping me back into my chair.

"Sir, I'm calling an ambulance."  He moved aside just enough that I could look past him and saw … nothing. Nothing but the pristine carpet and couch, nothing but the room completely in order, immaculate as always. I glanced up at the mantel and there was the statue, spotless, its vacant eyes staring at the same nothing which I beheld.

I grasped his arm. "No, please. I'm just feeling dizzy and a bit feverish. I need to lie down. Wretched flu. Not feeling at all well."

"Are you sure you don't want me to call someone?"

"Yes, quite sure. I'll be fine, but please, I must go lie down."

"Of course. In any case, I've nothing more at this time. Sorry to have kept you so long."  He slid the folded paper into his notebook then tucked everything back in his pocket.

I rose. "That's quite alright, detective. I understand. You have a job to do."  I walked him to the doorway of the room then, feeling lightheaded, leaned against the jamb.

"You'd best look after yourself, sir."  I'll show myself out." He paused, frowning at me. "You weren't planning to go out of town at all, were you?"

"No. If I'd had such plans, this illness has certainly cancelled them."

"Yes, I'm sure. I'll be in touch, if I have anything further."

"Thank you, detective. Please, let me know if … let me know as soon as you find her."

"Of course. Good day to you, sir."

As I watched him leave and heard the front door open then close, I regained my equilibrium. The effects of the hallucination were already fading. I smiled knowing that he and his cohorts would never find Glory. What I had witnessed during the interrogation was nothing more than a figment of my overtaxed imagination. Perhaps I was coming down with something and it had been a fever-induced fantasy.

Glory would be forgotten. To the best of my knowledge, no one with familial ties would be coming to look for her. At her place of business, she would be replaced in the way that all employees are replaced. They are all expendable. I might not forget her, but neither had I anything to fear from her.

As for the policeman, something about him disturbed me. Not unduly, of course, but I did not believe he would forget Glory, either. Still, he had nothing that would lead back to me, certainly not enough to suspect I had anything to do with her disappearance. Eventually, the police would find her car and assume she had simply waded into the ocean to her death. I had taken all precautions. There were not even footprints, for the recent snowstorms would have obliterated any trace of my presence. I would be safe from their prying.

Other than a trace of vertigo, I felt quite well. I turned to survey the room. Everything was as it should be. Nothing remained that could explain the aberrant events which had transpired minutes before.

PART 9

The more I ponder the situation, the greater my disquiet. My circumstances are no longer what they were. I have concerns, the policeman, for one.

Certainly, I was thorough in removing all traces of blood and tissue both from the floor of the room where Glory met her demise and from any surfaces in the basement room, where I prepared the remains. I went so far as to purchase the required chemical, immediately following the disinfection, to test for any residue. I could detect none. Even so, might I have missed some miniscule hint of her fate? If the premises were searched, would something incriminating be found? Of course, her DNA would be present in those rooms and elsewhere in the house … hair, skin cells, bodily fluids other than blood … even given the lapse of time. We had had a relationship, after all, and it would be more suspect if nothing whatsoever were found as a testament to our association and her presence here.

But I sense that the aged detective might very well exhibit the same dogged determination, as would an old terrier, until he unearths the truth. Minus a corpse, could he still make a credible case with minimal circumstantial evidence?  I am doubtful, but I am neither a policeman nor a prosecutor.

I imagine the worst possibility … that being the last confirmed person to see her alive, I might be a worthy enough suspect to warrant arrest and detention. Even without an ultimate conviction, the specter of incarceration, for any length of time, is too disturbing to entertain. I have no respect for those who have formulated laws, but I do respect the power of those laws to hinder, as they no doubt would, my desire for self-expression, which tends not to meet arbitrary standards.

I worry the ridges in the grip of the scalpel. The metal was cool when I picked it up, but my hand has warmed it. Now it feels like an extension of my own flesh.

I win.

My anger at Glory has long since cooled. The rage has transformed into icy acceptance that she was able to manipulate me, but what's done is done. I consider her assertion. Though I have never expressed it to any living person, the thought has often crossed my mind that I would rather die than be imprisoned. Perhaps Glory has shown me the way to ensure that my future holds no such eventuality. Perhaps she has found a freedom that cannot be wrested.

I have asked her several times, this evening, but she remains unresponsive, apparently unable, or unwilling, to make any sound. I find it ironic that while she was alive, unless I gave her leave to speak, or otherwise make noises, she was required to be silent. Now that she is dead and I wish to have some explanation of her presence, her silence mocks me. She is my second and more immediate area of concern.

Glory is slouched in the wing chair opposite my desk, both arms, still with the cuffs, and one leg draped over the chair arms, the other leg stretched out in front of her, heel resting on the carpet.

She does not look quite as perfect as she did during her animated and vulgar performance this afternoon in the presence of the policeman. Perhaps, birthing the monstrosity has taken its toll. I wish she would leave, but her unresponsiveness includes ignoring my repeated requests for her to be gone.

Her skin is no longer flawless. Crusty, dark red lines crisscross her sallow, bloodless body and encircle her limbs where I made the cuts. Glory resembles nothing so much as a grisly, stitched-together rag doll lying discarded atop a trash heap. Her position affords me an expansive view of her cunt, but I can barely bring myself to look at it. It is no longer moist and red and lust-swollen. Rather, it is rust-coloured and resembles rotting, winter-shriveled fruit.

The streak of white hair has taken on an ashen hue. Her eyes, sunken and with purplish-brown circles beneath them, focus on nothing and when she does turn them in my direction, they are devoid of interest. None of the light of this afternoon's mischief and excitement glitters in them. Much of Glory appears faded, but not that smile. There is that smug, self-satisfied smile. Her deteriorated condition notwithstanding, I sense a serenity in her now that was never present while she lived, even after an intense, climactic session where I allowed her to experience all the sensations of pain pleasure which she craved and which I eagerly rendered. She was never satiated as she appears to be now.

I doubt the veracity of the message I perceive, however, for as seductive as the serenity seems, Glory proved her duplicity and cannot be trusted. There is nothing to say that those, who were or are deceitful in life, have any reason not to perpetuate their lies once they are dead. It is undeniable that the treachery of the living often survives their death. Glory is attempting to goad me into accepting that she has found freedom and tranquility in death. Why should I believe her? The only flicker of awareness I noticed in her this evening occurred several minutes ago, when I exposed my palm to her and pressed the scalpel against it. She sat up a little straighter, blinked once, and appeared to hold her breath, despite the improbability that the dead have any breath to hold, when I broke the skin just enough to allow a thin ribbon of red to well up. I assume her attentiveness in that moment reflects her desire to have me join her.

It has been decades since I considered death a possible alternative to an action that would allow me to control my environment. The latter proved to be a rewarding path. Until Glory, I had not deviated from it and here she is, dead now, luring me, to travel the alternate path, the one she has chosen, instead.

While I would still prefer death to forced confinement and the consequent obedience to petty tyrants — a perishing thought, to be sure — I do not believe it will be necessary.

There is nothing, of substance, that can connect me to Glory's disappearance. I was meticulous; any case would be purely circumstantial. Much as I would have liked to keep a souvenir of Glory … her lock of white hair, a finely-serrated tooth perhaps, or even one of her smug, contemptuous eyeballs … I knew such an act would be foolish and prideful. It is the sort of error a self-aggrandizing amateur with delusions of infallibility would make.

I have spent the past few hours recalling the moments surrounding Glory's demise, concluding that my anxiety comes not from any danger the detective might present, nor from the perceived threat of capture and imprisonment, but from the lack of stimuli I have been experiencing since that bloody night. In retrospect, I know that I was waiting for some event as a catalyst for action and the detective's visit supplied it.

Outwitting him has provided me with both amusement and a new goal.

While I no longer regret losing Glory — she did, after all, betray me and clearly she is not lost enough yet … I wonder if and when that will finally occur — I do regret how impulsively I let her go. It was too quick, too easy, too … unrewarding. Of course, she provoked me beyond reason, but I cannot absolve myself completely. I allowed my rage to free her. How much greater would her suffering have been had I not been so hasty, so uncontrolled?  She may have grown tired of the pain, but I have not.

Glory won, but we learn from our mistakes, do we not?

I released the acolyte, whose presence so irritated me, at the restaurant where Glory, post mortem, first appeared, upon realizing that I was not even slightly interested in anything she had to offer. She truly was too dull and dim and promised little arousal, not a challenge at all. I told her I would send for her, if I felt so inclined, but have not thought about her until just now. I will not be summoning her, but I consider how simple it was to seduce her with the promise of ecstasy in pain and humiliation.

How many are there, if not exactly like Glory, similar enough that my pleasure in their end-pain might last not just hours, but days, or weeks, or longer, until I tire of playing?  Then, and only then, might I choose to free them. Not dismiss, as I have done in the past, but free them, as I have freed Glory. How many, whose disappearance would be of little or no concern to anyone?

The cage in the basement has been empty too long.

_______
© 2014 Rose B. Thorny.All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Bio: Who is Rose B. Thorny? Read her bio on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website.

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